Monday, December 16, 2013

The Middle East Hit by Anomalous Winter Storm

Almost unheard of cold weather and snowstorms have blanketed the Middle East. Both Egypt and Israel have been hit hard with record cold and snowfalls more characteristic of Canada than two of the warmest and driest places on earth.

Starting on the night of Wednesday December 11 and extending into the weekend, Israel was hit by the heaviest winter snowstorm in 60 years. The storm prompting school closures, canceled flights, snarled traffic and blocked access routes to the Israeli capital. Not since December 1953 has Israel seen so much snow including areas as far south as the Negev Desert on Friday.

Snow is not the only weather story, flooding is also an issue in Tel Aviv, as parts of the city’s boardwalk are under water due to heavy rain and the Ayalon River continues to rise.

On Friday December 13, Egypt including some Cairo suburbs saw snowfall for the first time in 112 years other part of the country were ravaged by heavy rains. Parts of the Sinai Peninsula were blanketed by snow. The snow extended all the way to the Mediterranean coast and included the coastal city of Alexandria.

Turkey, Syria were also hit by the cold weather and heavy snows. In Turkey they have been below the monthly average by almost 10C.

The weather story was compounded by high winds and cold temperatures. While the snow may be exciting for children it is yet another indication that a warming planet is causing more moisture to evaporate into the atmosphere and fall as heavy precipitation.

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