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Greek Islands under snow

- by Dabs Banner

Just as you are planning your summer Greek Islands holiday, news comes in of massive snowfalls and plunging temperatures across the Aegean.

Heavy snowfalls are reported across the whole of Greece, and even the islands are suffering from the cold snap.

Ferries to the Sporades islands were halted briefly while islands like Lesvos and Chios struggled to care for thousands of refugees huddled in summer tents.

Icy conditions have led to many school closures and frozen water pipes as thermometers plunged to -16°C in western Macedonia.

Even the most southerly island of Crete can't escape the icy blast with overnight temperatures in Chania dropping to -14°C and thick snowfalls making roads impassable.

Local authorities and police are doing their best to clear roads, and direct traffic but even major highways have been blocked by heavy snow.

The cold snap has affected many parts of Europe. Italy has been forced to close airports and cancel ferries.

In Turkey, the Bosporus was closed to shipping, and heavy snows have hit Istanbul.

Eastern Europe faced the worst conditions with deaths reported in Poland and Bulgaria while Russia has suffered the coldest winter in 120 years.

It is not unheard of for the Greek Islands to suffer from winter snowstorms but it is rare to see snowfalls on this scale.

The island of Evia experienced more than 50 centimetres of snow with many roads blocked and mountain passes closed.

Gale force winds have also lashed many island coastlines with harbours hit by massive waves.

Power lines have also been hit, and there are reports of blackouts on islands from Crete in the south to Lesvos in the north.

But the Sporades islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Evian seem to have suffered the heaviest snowfalls.

Although many islands in Greece are now promoting themselves as all-year-round holiday destinations, they will never enjoy the blame weather of rival resorts in the Bahamas.

You can seem more Costas Andreou photos of snow in the Greek Islands on his Facebook page here.