The white calm after the storm: when the Middle East got snowed-in
The Russian winter swept through the deserts and up the Mediterranean coast of the Middle East in the last few days, causing havoc on roads and shutting down government services. The storm brought strong winds, torrential rains and deep snow to parts of Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.
At least 11 people were killed in the Levant storm, which caused panic-buying of basic staples like bread. Heavy rains that preceded the snow storm flooded parts of Jordan, where the government locked down and a state of emergency was declared in the capital, Amman, with the army brought in to clear the streets.
With conditions already difficult for Syrian refugees and internally displaced people inside Syria, the storm only added to their woes. In Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, refugees rioted and attacked aid workers in a 'blanket protest' out of frustration after winds and rain swept away their flimsy shelters.
But the downpour and snow-strife was also met with humor, as Jordanians took to the web to poke fun at the situation. Commenters posted altered pictures of sharks and penguins swimming through the streets, while Facebook users spread mock news, including a report that a car had hit a jet skier on the Amman-Zarqa highway.
The rains and snow were certainly unwelcome for many who suffered the chaos and trauma of the ravaging storm, but could prove beneficial to Jordan, which has one of the world’s lowest annual rainfalls. Dams in the country have overflowed, prompting hopes of relief from the country’s water crisis. Continue reading below »
Jerusalem was transformed into a "winter wonderland" ahead of the weekend after heavy overnight snowfall turned the Holy City and much of the region white, rounding up children to Church, Mosque or Temple faster than the Pied Piper of Hamelin!
Anecdotes and urban myths arose in all the snow-mania, such that it became hard to separate fact from fiction. One tweet caught the attention of the snow fans: "True to form, Jerusalem snowball fight apparently turns into clashes between Israelis & Palestinians".
Share your snowy experiences, traumatic or light-hearted fun! Were you caught up in the stormy weather in a spot in the Middle East not mentioned? Do tell us in the space below.