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Libya sees first snow in 15 years as cold snap hits parts of northern Africa and Middle East

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The Green Mountain in northeastern Libya saw its first snowfall in 15 years this week as a cold wave swept through parts of the southern Mediterranean region, northern Africa, and the Middle East, including Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.

The rare snow started falling on Monday, February 15, which brought delight to residents as they enjoyed the wintry scenery.

Mohammed Saleh, a resident from Bayda, believes that the snowfall is an omen for peace in Libya. "We hope the snowfall will be a good sign for our homeland by unifying our institutions and unifying our country and for people to return to one another and love each other."

He continued, "As we see now, the children, people, and families that came to this area, the area of Sidi Mohamed Al-Hamri."

Ali Al-Shairi, another Bayda Resident, captured the winter wonderland and said he was "surprised by the number of families who came here to take pictures in the snow."

According to the Libyan National Meteorological Center, temperatures below freezing point were recorded in several cities on Monday, including Al-Bayda, Yefren, Nalut, Al-Marj, Green Mountain, and the Nafusa Mountain.

In neighboring Egypt, the cold snap brought freezing rain, strong winds, and mist. While the spell had no remarkable impact on road traffic, officials closed a number of ports in Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheik. Fishing activities were also suspended, as a precautionary measure.

Ice pellets were reported in Alexandria, Beheira, and Port Said, with some parts slicked with snow, according to the Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA). 

Heavy snow was experienced as well over parts of the Middle East, including Syria, Lebanon, and Israel since Tuesday, February 16, paralyzing citizens' daily lives.

Local media said the snow has already blocked some of the roads in Syria, including in capital Damascus, and disrupted traffic on Wednesday, February 17. Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported snow as high as 15 cm (6 inches) in Um Houran area in Dahir al-Jabal.

Featured image credit: @MedWave Shipping Libya

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