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Winter in Athens

05 January 2010 / 10:01:47  GRReporter
2005 reads

Kremena Koutsoukou

Yesterday the Greek capital registered one of its coolest days of winter 2009-2010. Around noon the mercury in Athens noted only 10˚C and the north wind made everybody feel as if they were freezing. Winter is definitely coming late here because for the past two month the average temperature has been 15˚C. Even the locals are amazed. Despite the high temperatures for the season, they are happy.

Accustomed to a real winter and mandatory white picture and squeak of snow I was quite surprised when a few years ago for the first time I faced the Greeks' perception of coldness and...snow. I was talking to a friend of mine over the phone. She is a primary school teacher and she was telling me with notable enthusiasm for the complicated climate conditions in the city. "It's snowing!" she told me, "Great," I replied. "Naturally, schools closed for several days.” I thought the situation was really serious and out of curiosity asked how much snow has fallen. "Well, it hasn’t reached my street yet but the street next to mine is a bit white..." It sounded like a joke, but soon I realized she was telling the truth, and after all I did not want to spoil her excitement by telling her for example, that schools in Bulgaria rarely close even when it is -15˚C.

Recently I asked some friends whether the weather this year in the capital is common for a Greek winter. "Well, not quite, it is warmer this winter. But you never know, in January or in February it might snow in some northern suburbs.” It is interesting to note that in the minds of locals, when it snows this climatic phenomenon almost never refers to a city, but for a nearby mountain. And when you tell them stories about snow in the city (!) and operating streets and working institutions, it sounds to them almost surreal. After that they start dreaming of winter resorts, fireplace and ski ... It is interesting to me how long they will withstand the cold and immediately I thought of a couple of friends who after their last year's trip to Budapest, where temperatures during the day reached around -10˚C, swore that will never go to Europe for New Year again

Actually, the phenomenon “winter without cold” is normal for this geographical area. The climate is typically Mediterranean - with soft and damp winters, warm and dry summers and generally with long periods of fine weather throughout the year. Based on data from the National Weather Service the seasons in Greece are two: very cold and rainy winter period lasting from mid-October to late March and hot and dry summer - from April to October. Despite this, even rain in Greece does not last long and the sky keeps clouds for no more than several consecutive days. True winter days are disturbed even more by the famous since ancient times days called "alkyne days”. They appeared in January and in the first half of February and are characterized by atypical high temperatures for the winter season.

Despite the cold start of the week, the forecast predicts a rapid improvement of the weather. From today, temperatures in the capital will increase and are expected to reach 15˚C-18˚C throughout the following ten days.

On the eve of New Year thermometers on Crete showed record temperatures for this period and some central beaches were even filled with people. It is a fact that Greeks do not like to miss an opportunity to go to the beach, even in winter. It really seems that locals feel most confident during a warm weather. As if the heat and sun here is never enough.

Tags: Winter in Athens temperatures weather Greece
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