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While the north freezes, Greeks go to the beach

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While the north freezes, Greeks go to the beach


Those stranded in snowdrifts in northern Europe are not going to enjoy finding out what they are up to in Greece.

At Piraeus near Athens, people plunged into the sea and played ball games on the beach as if it was September, not December.

Record heat thanks to warm air masses from the south has brought temperatures well into the 20s.

Forecasters say the situation is the exact reverse of the cold snap gripping the north. For the past month the weather has been dominated by a strong southwestern stream in the atmosphere.

“We have broken a decade-old record in our area. Specifically the other day in Athens it was 25 degrees, when the average temperatures are 17 to 18 degrees,” said Anastasia Papakrivou, head of the National Meteorological Service.

Commenting on the difference in weather experienced by northern and southern Europe, she went on: “That there is a huge range in temperatures, which has as a result different phenomena – heat here and snow there – has to do exactly with these positions of the meteorological systems. In other words, we are on the southern warm part of these systems, whereas western and northern Europe have the lows that constantly move and affect them with all those phenomena.”

Tourists from the north, who perhaps simply wanted to escape the big freeze back home, probably never imagined they would be getting a very late summer holiday.

“I think it is incredible,” said Lawrence Roszoski, a visitor from Warsaw. “In Poland now it is something like 20 degrees below zero, so for me it is really, really great.”

Other parts of the southern Mediterranean are feeling the heat too. Cyprus had the driest November for more than a century.

But anyone thinking of booking a last-minute trip south should think twice. Temperatures are expected to return to normal come the weekend.

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