Greece gripped by cold front, snowfall, winds disrupt travel

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According to weather forecasts issued by the National Observatory of Athens weather service the cold front will start receding in the weekend.

ATHENS, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- The new year started with a cold front sweeping through Greece which blanketed in snow many parts of the country on Thursday, causing travel disruptions, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

A woman walks in snow in Thessaloniki, Greece, Jan. 4, 2019. Many parts of the country were hit by extreme cold snap and heavy snowfall recently due to a low-pressure weather system named "Sophia". In the northern city of Thessaloniki, two international flights were cancelled and five were diverted to other Greek airports on Thursday, local authorities announced. (Xinhua/Lefteris Partsalis)

As temperatures have dropped below or close to zero Celsius, municipal authorities in many Greek cities have opened heated venues for the homeless.

The weather system named "Sophia" has brought snowfall in several regions of the mainland, especially in northern and central Greece, as well as winds up to 9 on the Beaufort scale at sea, following the heavy rainfalls of the first hours of 2019.

In the northern city of Thessaloniki, two international flights were cancelled and five were diverted to other Greek airports on Thursday, local authorities announced.

Disruptions were reported also in ferries services, while regional roads in mountainous areas, but also northern suburbs of Athens were shut down due to snow, according to AMNA.