Heavy snow is falling over parts of the Middle East, including Syria, Lebanon, and Israel since Tuesday, February 16, 2021, blocking roads and disrupting normal life.
According to local media reports, the snow has already blocked some of the roads in Syria, including in capital Damascus, disrupted traffic, and postponed exams at some universities on February 17.
Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported snow as high as 15 cm (6 inches) in Um Houran area in Dahir al-Jabal, indicating that many roads in the mountainous regions are barely passable.
The snow was falling at varying intensities as a number of roads in the Dahir al-Jabal area and in the villages of the eastern region have been blocked, SANA report said.
The prevailing weather conditions haven't caused any significant damage so far, it added.
Gale force winds up to 100 km/h (62 mph) were registered in neighboring Lebanon on Tuesday, February 16 as well as heavy rainfall and snow on February 17, causing traffic disruption.
The storm is expected to intensify on February 18, with snow forecast to cover areas at altitudes as low as 400 m (1 310 feet).
Snow began falling in Jerusalem, Israel on Wednesday afternoon, and overnight Tuesday in the Golan Heights near the border with Syria. Up to 10 cm (4 inches) of snow are expected in Jerusalem by Wednesday night, forecasters said. City officials said they are preparing.
Mount Hermon site registered strong winds, temperatures as low as -3 °C (26.6 °F), and 30 cm (12 inches) of snow in the lower part of the mountain.
Heavy thunderstorms and cold temperatures are expected across much of Israel, with snowfall at higher altitudes later on Wednesday, including in Jerusalem, the Israeli Meteorological Service said.
According to Haaretz, the regional councils of the area – Merom Hagalil, Upper Galilee, and Golan – canceled schools due to ice accumulation on the roads. Schools were shuttered in Safed as well.
Israeli Nature and Parks Authority closed several nature reserves and hiking trails to visitors in the north and south of the country.
Featured image: NASA/NOAA NOAA-20 (JPSS-1)/VIIRS