This year's winter season in Egypt turned out to be the coldest in a decade, with temperatures as much as 8 °C (14 °F) below the seasonal average.
After paralyzing Greece and Turkey at the beginning of the week, a severe winter storm dubbed Elpida brought rare snow to the Middle East and waves of nearly 6 m (20 feet), disrupting shipping in the eastern Mediterranean.1
Cold temperatures engulfed the region, with Egypt recording its coldest winter in a decade and Israel reaching an all-time high power consumption overnight Thursday.2
The current cold spell has not ever been seen in about ten years, not only because the plummet in temperature degrees, but also due to the long duration of coldness across the country, which nears a whole month, Ali Kotb, a professor of climate at Zagazig University, told Ahram Online.3
"Egypt has been witnessing very cold weather at daytimes and frost at night-times for up to a month. Earlier, the country was accustomed to only two-day to week-long cold waves," Kotb added.
Jerusalem saw between 15 and 25 cm (6 – 10 inches) of rare snow today, while neighboring Jordan experienced paralyzing snowfall in the capital Amman and across much of the country.
Syria was also heavily affected by disrupting snowfall and below-freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, severe weather there is now entering its 10th day, destroying displaced persons' camps near the border with Turkey.4
In crisis-hit Lebanon, refugees and Lebanese alike struggled to secure fuel for heating as severe weather blocked mountain roads and left Syrian refugees shivering in tents.
1 Rare Mideast snow brings Jerusalem joy, misery for Syria refugees – AFP
2 Rare snow engulfs Jerusalem, Israel – The Watchers
3 Egypt experiencing coldest weather in ten years: Experts – Ahram Online
4 Heavy snow and rain devastate hundreds of Syrian refugee camps – The Watchers
Featured image credit: GFS, TropicalTidbits
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