Updated: 1/9/2019 1:45:50 AM
A winter storm packing heavy rain and snow on Tuesday turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. Among those affected were tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom live in tent settlements. In the eastern Bekaa Valley, many Syrian refugees stayed indoors next to diesel or wood heaters as snow covered their flimsy tents. Authorities closed the highway linking Beirut with the Syrian capital Damascus after parts of it that cut through high mountains became covered with snow. In the coastal town of Dbayeh, just north of Beirut, part of the highway was closed after it was filled with water. Rescuers later used small boats to help people stranded in their cars. Most schools were closed Tuesday and the Lebanese education minister called for school to be closed even on the coast for a second day Wednesday.
Published Monday, January 7, 2019
Four people have died and 55 others were injured due to the snow storm, also known as “Alexa”, which is passing through Lebanon.
Lebanese Red Cross official George Kettaneh told the Voice of Lebanon radio station late Monday that four people died and 55 others were injured as a result of traffic accidents caused by rains and floods.
Meanwhile, the National News Agency reported that the heights as far as the Aley area and Metn districts are witnessing heavy snowfall.
There is also a steep decrease in temperature in these regions which has reached zero degrees Celsius and below.
Snow also began to fall heavily at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in different areas of Akkar’s Al-Doniyeh, where the altitude is 500 meters and above.
A winter storm began Wednesday in Lebanon with snow blanketing the Beqaa and mountain areas as frigid temperatures settled over the country, while harsher weather is expected in the coming days.
The Mdeirej-Dahr al-Baidar-Chtaura road which links Beirut with Damascus has been cut off by ice.
Strong wind pushed two ships docked at the Tripoli Port towards the shore, which damaged a cafe owned by Haitham Kharouta.
Lebanese University chief Adnan Sayyed Hussein said classes will continue as scheduled tomorrow at all Lebanese University faculties.
The storm, which arrived from Russia on Sunday, has also caused extensive damage to homes, businesses, crops and public infrastructure across Lebanon.
Its effects were also felt by poor families and vulnerable Syrian refugees throughout the country.
Public and private schools were ordered shut Tuesday and Wednesday over safety concerns as Lebanon braced itself for more high winds, rain and snow.
The storm, one of the strongest in Lebanon in 25 years according to Mona Shahine Khauli of the Nicholas Shahine Meteorology center, flooded several highways in the capital, Beirut, Monday as well as roads in north, east and south Lebanon that led to massive traffic jams.
The Lebanese Army said it had rescued a "large number" of citizens stranded in their vehicles by snow and floods, particularly in the barren terrain of Baalbek in east Lebanon and Akkar in north Lebanon as well as in Jbeil and Kesrouan, north of Beirut.
Snow Storm Alexa Facts
Affected Area: 1 km.
Alert Level: Green