Athens, Feb 20 (IANS) Greeks woke up to a heavy blanket of snow and below freezing temperatures due to overnight snowfall.

The new wave of extreme weather conditions Thursday hit major parts of the country and Athens with heavy snowstorm, strong wind and subzero temperatures, causing major disruptions in transportation nationwide, Xinhua reported.

In the morning hours, many parts of national and provincial roads remained closed. The use of snow chains was necessary for the vehicles, due to the intense snowfall.

In addition, several schools including in the periphery of Attica prefecture were shut down or opened later in the morning due to frosty conditions.

Temperatures plunged as low as minus five-Celsius degrees in the region of Macedonia and Thrace in northern Greece and minus 10 Celsius in the Lasithi Plateau in eastern Crete, which was among the areas hardest hit by the snow.

According to the national meteorological service, the snowfall would continue in the eastern part of the country and the islands Thursday, with temperatures reaching between one to thirteen Celsius degrees.