Snow Blankets Lebanon Mountains, Temperatures Drop as Schools Ordered to Close Thursday

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“Alexa” has made landfall, covering Lebanon's mountains with snow, but it is expected to reach its climax on Wednesday afternoon, bringing snow to areas as low as 500 meters above sea level.

Caretaker Education Minister Hassan Diab has already ordered the closure of public and private schools across the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

All nurseries will also be closed on Wednesday and Thursday at the instructions of caretaker Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil. Public and private universities remained open on Wednesday.

By 8:30 am, major roads in mountainous areas were blocked after several centimeters of snow covered villages and towns across Lebanon.

The Dhour al-Shweir-Tarshish road, one of the links between the western mountain range and the Bekaa Valley, and the Oyoun al-Siman-Baalbeck roads were blocked.

The snow also caused blocked roads in Maaser al-Shouf, Kefraya, Laqlouq, Tannourine and Aqoura.

But public works ministry bulldozers reopened most of them at noon.

Sea waves reached six meters high due to powerful winds, forcing fishermen to scramble to safety in several ports along the coast.

But the storm is forecast to intensify in the afternoon, bringing heavier winds and much lower temperatures, reaching 5 degrees Celsius in coastal areas.

"Alexa" is forecast to bring several days of rain and snow and a steep drop in temperature.

Ambulances, civil service units and the Internal Security Forces were placed on high alert to help stranded residents.

Red Cross Operations Director George Kettaneh told Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) that there were 24 accidents and 37 injuries on Lebanon's roads since Tuesday night.

Most of them were caused by speed and slippery roads, he said.

Later, MTV said that a man and a woman were killed in a car crash on the Sidon-Tyre highway in southern Lebanon due to low visibility.

An accident involving 10 cars at al-Namlieh bridge on the Dahr al-Baidar road also caused heavy traffic.

But the storm caused limited material damage.

The state-run National News Agency said that a tree fell on a car in the Akkar town of Halba. The strong winds also ripped off the wall of a garden.

In the southern city of Tyre, heavy rains created ponds and flashfloods in the heavily populated neighborhood of al-Balouta. The storm in Tyre also took its toll on the groves of citrus fruits, banana and vegetables, freezing some crops and uprooting trees.

Activities ground to a halt at the city's commercial port as the storm prevented fishermen from going out to sea.

Meanwhile, snow cut off the Maaser al-Chouf-Kefraya road in the Bekaa, preventing vehicles from reaching the al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve, amid chilly winds, dense fog and a steep drop in temperature.

In the Bcharre district, snow fell on areas situated 1,300 meters above sea level up to the town of Qnat. Roads remained open except for the al-Arz-Aynata and Hadath el-Jebbeh-Tannourine routes.

Heavy fog engulfed the mountains in nearby Zgharta and snow fell on areas situated 900 meters above the sea level and higher, reaching the entrance of the town of Aytou.

In Ehden, a 30-centimeter layer of snow covered the al-Midan area.

In the evening, all mountainous roads in Lebanon were cut off by snow, according to al-Jadeed television.

In the northern city of Tripoli, strong wind pushed two ships docked at the city's port towards the shore, damaging a cafe, the National News Agency reported.

"The al-Rifaiyeh-Abi Samra road in Tripoli has been rendered impassable after the storm uprooted trees and electricity poles," al-Jadeed said.

NNA said al-Diftar Sreet was also blocked by a large tree. According to al-Jadeed, Tripoli Municipality's emergency crews were removing the damages caused by the storm.

Comments 5
Missing patriot10 11 December 2013, 11:06

that was then. now they dont have food no water and NO electrisity

Thumb charbel 11 December 2013, 13:25

now we have Jebran Bassil and his father in law, they keep us warm

Thumb benzona 11 December 2013, 17:31

i'd like to know if anyone has nice high quality pictures of the storm to share with us.

Thumb liefighter 11 December 2013, 18:20

I hope he got a shot and he is trembling,hehe

Missing watan-libnan 11 December 2013, 23:21

This snow is liquid gold if only this and previous lebanese governments realised it they could swap the water for oil with the gulf countries or sold the water in bottles to them either way.