Greece is bracing for snow and sub-zero Celsius temperatures starting on Friday, the national meteorological service forecasts.
According to the forecasts, snow will fall even on the Aegean islands, which is a rare phenomenon.
Snow to blanket landscapes throughout Greece
“On Sunday the color white, which indicates a high probability of snowfall, covers most of the Aegean islands, most areas of Crete and the northern Dodecanese even at a low altitude,” meteorologist Sakis Arnaoutoglou said.
Temperatures to plunge as air from polar regions moves to Greece
Temperatures are expected to plunge down to -12 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit) in some mountainous regions of Greece’s mainland as a result of cold air masses moving south from the polar regions.
According to the National Observatory of Athens, the reason for the persistent cold weather is due to a shift in the polar jet stream, a fast-flowing current of air circulating 10 kilometers (6 miles) above the surface of the Earth that moves from west to east.
In recent days, the polar jet stream that moves from Canada to Europe has been pushed northward from its average climatic position in the region of Western Europe.
This has resulted in the development of a region of high pressure in Central and Western Europe, bringing warmer and drier weather. To the east, however, in Scandinavia and western Russia, the jet stream turns south and carries colder air masses southward.
The severe weather will persist next week as well.
The General Secretariat for Civil Protection of the Ministry of Climate Crisis & Civil Protection says it has warned emergency services, as well as local authorities, to be on increased alert in order to deal immediately with the effects of the severe weather.
It also advises citizens to be very careful, and avoid unnecessary travel.
Earlier in January, a weather system named “Diomedes” brought heavy snow and torrential rain to many parts of Greece.
Ships in the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio were docked as a result of strong winds of up to 10 on the Beaufort scale (gale force).