A heatwave is expected to hit Greece over the Easter holiday, with temperatures peaking at an incredible 38°C (100°F) on Sunday in some parts of the country.
Although the weather in the country is generally warm at this time, temperatures in April are very rarely this high, with the past ten days of well above 20°C (68°F) temps having already broken records.
Easter heatwave in Greece this year
The heat spreading through Greece over Easter is due to hot air masses that are now covering the Eastern Mediterranean. The weather is expected to shift between cloudy and clear skies, but with consistently warm temperatures.
Temperatures are supposed to rise steadily throughout Holy Week, reaching 35°C (95°F) on Good Friday. The parts of the country which will be dealing with the hottest weather are the generally warmer central and southern regions.
On Easter Sunday, much of the country is expected to hit 37°C (98°F), with parts of Crete forecast to reach an astonishing 38°C (100°F)!
Easter heatwave leads to sweltering summertime temps
The temperatures expected this Greek Easter are particularly shocking when put into a wider context.
The Easter heatwave is likely to make most of Greece experience warmer temperatures than the average month in summer. August, which is the warmest month of the year in Greece, has an average temperature of 28°C (84°F) — a whole ten degrees Celsius lower than this year’s Easter forecast!
The last month of the spring, May, is usually a comfortably warm month in Athens, with average temperatures fluctuating between 23.8°C (74.8°F) and 16.4°C (61.5°F).
In the Greek capital, the average high-temperature rises marginally, from a comfortable 19.2°C (66.6°F) in April, to a warm 23.8°C (74.8°F). The average low temperature is 16.4°C (61.5°F).
In May, the average seawater temperature is 18.5°C (65.3°F). Swimming in that temperature is not enjoyable for the majority of people. Controlling breathing becomes progressively more difficult as surface water temperature decreases below 21°C (69.8°F).
Travel ban in Greece for Easter
Those seeking to enjoy the summer-like weather in Greece will have to stay within their region of residence for this final weekend, however. While travel to the Greek islands and other parts of the mainland is prohibited for now, the ban will be lifted on Monday, May 3.
A number of health experts have warned that lifting the current ban on Easter celebrations will undermine the national effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 ahead of the country’s formal reopening to international tourists on May 14.
Greeks will likely be enjoying the Easter heatwave by roasting lamb outside with family, in a slightly pared-down version of traditional Greek Easter celebrations.