Powerful Storm 'Yohan' Causes Extensive Damage across Lebanonإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Violent winds and what seemed to be a dust storm caused havoc in several Lebanese regions on Wednesday as storm Yohan battered the country with dust, rainy skies and thunderstorms.
However, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab announced in a statement in the evening that “schools will not be closed tomorrow, Thursday.”
“The directors of schools located in areas covered by snow should decide on whether or not to open their schools,” Bou Saab added.
Yohan, coming from western Italy, hit Lebanon overnight Tuesday, lowering temperatures and bringing snow to areas 1,000 meters above sea level.
Heavy snowfall cut off several roads in mountainous areas as the ferocity of the storm compelled the closure of some schools and the brief closing of ports.
The strong winter storm halted maritime traffic in Beirut, Sidon and Tripoli's ports.
Overnight, strong winds pushed a ship 30 meters away from the pier at the Beirut Port after the mooring ropes were severed, and efforts were underway to return it to the port and prevent it from sinking.
Another ship that was docked at Beirut Port collided with a vessel in the sea after its mooring ropes were cut off due to strong winds.
Strong waves broke fences and tiles along Beirut's famed corniche overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Lebanese weather forecasters said the wind reached speeds of 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph).
The storm damaged power lines in Tyre, plunging the southern city and the nearby areas into darkness.
High waves damaged seaside houses inhabited by Palestinian refugees, as the speed of wind reached 90 kilometers per hours and was accompanied by heavy rains.
Some trees and advertising banners were uprooted as a restaurant sustained damage at the southern city's corniche.
The Jounieh-Beirut seaside road partially collapsed and was blocked by police over the high waves caused by strong winds.
Many public roads were cut off in different areas due to fallen trees that caused material damage.
In the southern town of Shebaa, the thickness of the snow reached around 10 centimeters as it hit five centimeters in nearby Kfarshouba. Roads linking Shebaa to Hasbaya and Rashaya al-Wadi were only passable for vehicles equipped with snow chains.
Fierce winds had damaged Syrian refugee tents in Ibl al-Saqi's plain and cut off power supply to most towns in Hasbaya.
In the Bekaa, snow fell on areas lying less than 1,000 meters above sea level as an aging tree fell on high-voltage power lines in the al-Abbasiyeh area west of Baalbek, causing a blackout in the area.
Several schools in the Baalbek regions announced that they will be suspending classes on Thursday through SMSes sent to students and teachers, citing the accumulation of snow.
Citizens and Syrian refugees in Lebanon were advised to take precautionary measures.
In January, powerful storm “Zina” struck Lebanon, hitting refugees living in makeshift camps and many Syrians were trapped in their tents by snow, struggling to stay warm in temperatures hovering around zero degrees.
More than 1.5 million Syrian refugees have fled across the border into Lebanon since March 2011, when the conflict in their country began.