First Published: 2005-02-08

 
Snow blizzards sweep Holy Land
 

Some countries in Mideast blessed with snow showers, heavy rain after years of drought.

 

Middle East Online

Amman turned white

AMMAN - Snow showers, heavy rain and high winds gripped the Holy Land and Middle East countries on Tuesday, paralysing life in some areas but also bringing welcome relief to drought-hit regions.

Snow fell in the Jordanian capital and most regions of the desert kingdom, blocking off several roads into Amman, where schools kept their doors shut and police advised residents to stay indoors.

The rainfall was seen by many as a godsend in Jordan, which has been declared one of the world's 10 driest countries. As in other countries of the region, no casualties were reported.

Snow fell on Jerusalem for the first time this winter as well as in northern Israel. The cold snap brought heavy snowfall on the Golan Heights - seized from Syria in 1967 - where schools had to be closed for the day.

In Iran, parts of the north of the country and Tehran were paralysed after being hit by several days of record snowfall, with dozens of flights cancelled and key roads also cut off.

State media said up to 1.5 metres (five feet) of snow had fallen in the north over the past few days, the heaviest in at least 10 years.

"After years of drought in some parts of the country, we are witnessing good snowfall," Ali-Mohammad Nourian, the head of Iran's meterological organisation, told state television.

"This blessing from God" coincides with celebrations to mark the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, he said.

The weather service in Lebanon said the high winds and storms, which descended on the region at the weekend, was expected to ease on Wednesday.

Snow blanketed Mount Lebanon from an altitude of 700 metres (about 2,300 feet) and the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon, with snowploughs busy at work to try to keep open the Beirut-Damascus highway.

Temperatures plunged to minus 9 degrees Celsius (16 Fahrenheit) at night in the Bekaa and to six degrees (43 Fahrenheit) in the Lebanese capital.

Heavy snow and rain fell in Syria for a fifth straight day, raising water levels in the country's reservoirs. The heaviest showers hit the Hama region of northwest Syria.

 

13 dead, 100 injured in two Spanish seaside city attacks

Israel freezes implementation of settlement law

Erdogan meddles in German politics

Saudi Arabia installing cranes at Yemen ports

Civilians stay on frontlines despite dangers in Raqa

IS fighters almost encircled in Syrian desert

For Israel, White House ties trump neo-Nazis and antisemitism

Iran reform leader ends hunger strike

Van ploughs through pedestrians in Barcelona terror attack

13 killed in Barcelona van attack

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers

Syrian actress, activist Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’

UAE to provide $15 million a month to Gaza

Sudan's Bashir 'satisfied' with Nile dam project

US-backed rebels say American presence in Syria to last ‘decades’

Tunisian clerics oppose equal inheritance rights for women

Israel strikes almost 100 Hezbollah arms convoys in 5 years

UN hopes for eighth round of Syria talks before year’s end

LONG READ: How Syria continues to evade chemical weapons justice

Civilians killed in US-led raids on Raqa

Qatari pilgrims begin flooding into Saudi by land

Turkey arrests 9 more journalists for alleged ‘Gulen links’

Iran’s Karroubi on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Saudi Arabia to restart work on Grand Mosque expansion

Algeria reshuffles cabinet, nominates three new ministers

Syria rebels lose heavyweight faction

ICC orders Mali ex-jihadist pay 2.7 m euros for Timbuktu destruction

Libya seeks to ‘organise’ NGOs carrying migrant rescue Ops

More than one million South Sudan refugees in Uganda

Beirut, Damascus pledge to boost economic ties

Two killed on Gaza-Egypt border

Qataris to do hajj on Saudi king expenses

Fire breaks out at UNESCO heritage site in Saudi Arabia

Iran military chief in Turkey for talks on Syrian war

Saudi Electricity announces $1.75b in international loans

Israel to strip Jazeera journalist of press credentials

Bahrain state media accuses Qatar of trying to topple regime

Iran's Khamenei blasts US over Charlottesville

Libyan forces snub ICC over warrant for commander

Iran’s detained opposition leader starts hunger strike

Saudi Arabia, Iraq draw closer with wary eye on Iran