December 13, 2010

Sandstorms, Snow And Floods Hit Middle East! Hmm... God Is In Control.

The Telegraph UK
written by Staff
Sunda December 12, 2010

Heavy rains and fierce winds pummeled countries across the Middle East over the weekend, sinking a ship off Israel's coast, coating Damascus in snow, and whipping up sandstorms in Jordan and Egypt.

The storm brought unusually cold temperatures, below freezing in some spots. It ended weeks of unseasonably warm and dry weather that contributed to dozens of forest fires in Lebanon and helped feed a massive blaze in Israel that killed 40 people and destroyed thousands of hectares of forest.

It whipped up sandstorms in Jordan and Egypt, which closed its largest Mediterranean port.

Twelve-foot waves forced shut the Egyptian port of Alexandria – the country's largest – as well as another in the town of Nuweiba along the Red Sea coast of the Sinai Peninsula.

Sandstorms blanketed Cairo for a second day on Sunday, choking the air with dust and turning the sky a tepid beige. Doormen and shopkeepers tried in vain to keep the swirling dust at bay, sweeping sidewalks and dusting off parked cars.

Jordan also wrestled with sandstorms kicked up by winds up to 55 miles per hour, police said. Visibility was severely limited, and authorities closed major highways in the eastern desert linking the country with neighbouring Iraq and southern roads leading to the ancient city of Petra, a major tourist attraction.

In Syria, snow blanketed the streets of Damascus for the first time this winter. Schools sent students home early and children ventured outside to play in the streets.

Syrian authorities also closed their main port of Tartous.

Heavy rains flooded the streets in Beirut and snow forced some road closures in remote mountain towns in Lebanon. A woman died Saturday night when an uprooted tree fell on her car in the northern port city of Tripoli. Flights in and out of Beirut's international airport were delayed.

Off the Israeli coast, a Moldovan cargo ship sank in stormy weather about seven miles off the port city of Ashdod.

The Israeli military said the 11 sailors on the cargo ship arrived safely ashore.

Elsewhere in Israel, rain and hail pounded the country while strong winds toppled trees and traffic lights, flooding streets and knocking out electricity to hundreds of homes.

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