Greece faces the strongest cold front in 12 years

Greece is enduring bitter weather, the worst for 12 years.

Residents of Athens and many parts of Greece are experiencing heavy snowfall which has caused travel disruptions and power outages, mainly in central and western regions, according to authorities.

The country faces the strongest cold front in 12 years, Theodoros Kolydas, director of the national meteorological center, said after a meeting to coordinate the response to the cold snap, according to an e-mailed press release of the Civil Defense operations center.

The cold front, which has brought icy temperatures and strong winds from the west to the east, started battering Greece during the weekend.

On Monday, the lowest temperature in the country, at minus 19.9 Celsius degrees, was recorded in Kozani in northern Greece, according to the Athens national observatory weather service.

Meteorologists forecast the extreme weather will continue Tuesday, affecting more regions.

Mountain roads in the northern suburbs of Athens and regional roads at parts of Greece at high altitudes were closed on Monday due to the snow and fallen trees.

As a precaution, authorities also closed for several hours a section of the motorway linking Athens to Thessaloniki in northern Greece, and advised people to avoid unnecessary travels.

However, many citizens left their homes for a while to enjoy the snow that blanketed the northern suburbs of the Greek capital.

Greece has been in a nationwide lockdown since Nov. 7 as part of efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and people are allowed to exit their homes for particular reasons.

“Anyway, we are stuck at home, so nothing changes, on the contrary, it is a bit pleasant for people to go out as much as they can, near their houses or a little further, to play,” Yorgos, a resident of Stamata, a community of Attica region, told Xinhua.

Sotiris Andrianos drove to Penteli municipality in northern Athens from the southern seaside municipality of Alimos to enjoy the snow with his family.

“I came here for the child. There is not much left for children to do anymore at this point. Amusement parks and indoors and outdoors playgrounds are closed,” he said.