15 December 2013 14:46

Temperatures are set to rise on Saturday following three consecutive days of unusually cold weather which brought snow, rain, sleet and strong winds.
Meteorological Services officer Sofia Louca said the low temperatures are expected to increase by around 4°C by noon today and will gradually rise by another 3°C over the following days.
“The weather on Saturday morning will remain cold while cloudy skies and occasional showers are expected. But before midday there will be a noticeable increase in temperature.”
Inland temperatures are expected to reach around 10°C, with the coast being a little warmer at 11°C and 0°C in mountainous areas.
Tomorrow a continued rise in temperatures will also bring clearer skies.
Around a dozen communities in mountain areas remained cut off due to the heavy snow yesterday while a number of schools stayed closed waiting for the extreme weather to ease off.
Famagusta was lashed by hail for around two hours in the morning which caused considerable havoc on the roads and five auto accidents. Only one of the collisions on the Frenaros to Avgorou road resulted in injuries. The crash occurred at around 840am after a 21-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into an oncoming car driven by a 55-year-old man. A 49-year-old female passenger was admitted to hospital in serious condition.
A number of farms and green houses in the district suffered serious structural damage. Due to the strong winds several trees were also felled and had to be removed by the fire services.
Paralimni and Ayia Napa suffered blackouts in the morning which lasted until the Electricity Authority of Cyprus restored power a few hours later.
While the unexpected cold spell may have added to the Christmas spirit it has been a nightmare for farmers in Paphos who said yesterday they will request compensation from the state after suffering huge losses.
President of the Banana Produces Association George Konnikos said around 80% of banana plantations in the Peyia area have been destroyed by strong winds and hail.
“We will call on the government to support banana producers so that they can continue to grow after suffering these devastating loses.”
Agricultural organisations will meet next week after which a request will be made for immediate financial assistance.
Members of the Pancyprian Agricultural Association were yesterday in the area recording the damage for the report.
Meanwhile Interior Minsiter Socrates Hasikos confirmed yesterday that the emergency services will be able to effectively deal with any unexpected problems that arise due to the weather.
“We are in constant contact with the community leaders of remote villages and have already provided machinery and equipment to help with the opening of roads.”
The minister added that even though Cyprus does not have a contingency plan for dealing with extreme cold weather conditions he is confident that the ministry with the help of other state services will be able to effectively respond to all emergencies.
“I believe the worst is now over. We have the Civil Defence and Police on alert and I am sure we will make it.”
Snow in Troodos Square yesterday reached 50cm while temperatures dived to – 9°C. All roads leading to Cyprus’ highest mountain were closed and will most likely remain so until late today.


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