A week of temperature extremes over the globe

  • Copyright Stephen Pond, Press Association Images

    Minimum temperatures in Greece on Tuesday morning, 17th January

    Maximum temperatures recorded in South Africa on Monday 16th January

  • A week of temperature extremes over the globe
    19.01.2012 16:28

    Despite being renowned for blue skies and scorching sunshine through the summer months, Greece and Turkey can occasionally experience some harsh winter weather. Earlier this week, frigid northerly winds brought some exceptionally cold weather and snow to these areas of southeast Europe.

    In Greece, there were some abnormally cold nights. At Florina, a town in the mountainous north of the country, temperatures plummeted to a low of -25.1C on both Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning.

    Coastal resorts across Greece and Turkey also experienced some freezing weather. The island of Limnos in the Aegean Sea, popular with tourists for its sandy beaches, saw a few snow flurries on Monday evening. Snow also fell in Istanbul, leaving a white covering across the city.

    Indeed, the weather across Greece and Turkey can be surprisingly fickle in the winter. When low pressure systems track eastwards across central Europe, south-westerly winds can bring some pleasantly warm air from northern Africa to the Greek Islands, occasionally with highs into the low 20s Celsius well into winter.

    However, when a high pressure system forms over central Europe, the winds move in a clockwise direction around the high, bringing cold northerly winds and sometimes snow, particularly over the hills and mountains. Such a high pressure system was responsible for this week’s bitterly cold weather in southeast Europe.

    Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, which is in the midst of summer, temperatures soared unusually high across parts of South Africa this week. On Monday, temperatures in the town of Vredendal in the Western Cape province hit a scorching 45.4C. There was little respite over coastal parts of the province, with temperatures soaring to 39C at Table Bay, Cape Town, on Wednesday.

    Through this weekend, cooling south-easterly winds will bring more comfortable weather to the western Cape with a few showers likely and highs into the low 30s Celsius.

    Back in Greece and Turkey, the temperatures will be a little more pleasant this weekend as westerly winds bring in less cold air. Indeed, highs should reach around 17C in Crete on Saturday. However, it will not exactly be holiday weather with heavy showers spreading eastwards across Greece and Turkey during Saturday morning, perhaps bringing the odd lightning strike too.

    By: Paul Mott