Extreme weather in the Middle East

Most parts of the United States have severely cold weather tonight. Even here in Florida we are expecting record cold tonight and tomorrow night. One of the cruise ships was unable to enter the Tampa port today due to strong winds.

All of that reminded me about the extreme weather in the eastern Mediterranean and various parts of the Middle East. The network news showed conditions on the cruise ship that was unable to enter the harbor at Alexandria. The photo below show the breakwater at the entrance to the Alexandria harbor. The flat looking building to the right on the shore is the famous new library of Alexandria.

Breakwater at entrance to Alexandria harbor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Breakwater at entrance to Alexandria harbor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

RFIenglish has the following summary:

Twenty-six ships were barred from entering the Suez Canal and 29 vessels delayed for three hours. The waterway was hit by poor visibility and winds of up to 40 knots an hour, said an official at the canal, which is Egypt’s third-largest source of foreign revenue after tourism and remittances from expatriate workers.

Red Sea and Mediterranean ports were closed for a second day on Sunday, while an Italian container ship, Jolly Amaranto, was stranded off the north-western coast after its engines broke down.

Visibility at Cairo airport was reduced to 300 metres.

As a long drought that affected the region came to an end, temperatures plummeted and storms hit Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel:

* In Lebanon seaside roads and ports have been closed after a 45-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree hitting her car – the year’s first snowstorm hit the country’s mountains;
* Off Israel a Moldovan freighter went down near the port of Ashdod but its crew of 11 Ukrainians was rescued.
* Syria’s capital Damascus was hit by snowstorms;
* Jordan suffered sandstorms and was braced for heavy rain and snow, which could lead to flooding.

Forecasters expect the bad weather to continue on Monday and have advised people to stay indoors due to a sandstorm that has blanketed the Egyptian capital.

Read also the BBC report here, or the Breitbart coverage which Todd Bolen mentioned here.

The Israel National News reports on snow in the Jerusalem area. Haaretz says the precipitation is a boon to the Sea of Galilee which has been extremely low in recent months.

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