Winter Skiing Starts on Lebanese Mountains

Published December 30th, 2018 - 08:42 GMT
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)

The ski season in Lebanon officially began Friday as residents of Lebanon headed to resorts in the Cedars and Faqra, as well as in the mountain towns of Faraya and Bsharri, which were blanketed in slow.

The slopes at Kfar Dhebian (Mzaar), Laqlouq and Zaarour, however, remained closed.

For the second consecutive day, winter set in for adventure seekers and hapless residents alike, as those in the capital experienced rainfall while Lebanese areas as low as 1,200 meters saw freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall.

“We didn’t advertise that the slopes were open, but we had a good amount of people show up,” Elie Fakhry, director of the Cedars Resort, told The Daily Star.

Social media platforms were flooded with pictures and videos of people racing to the ski resorts late Thursday evening.

Many locals and expats also spend New Year’s Eve in chalets in places like Faraya and the Cedars.

Although Beirut didn’t see snow, it did experience up to 180 millimeters of precipitation compared with 150.7 millimeters on the same day last year, according to Friday’s morning weather forecast from the meteorology department at Rafik Hariri International Department. From September until now, the total level of precipitation in Beirut has reached 321.6 millimeters, over 6 millimeters more than the average for the same time period.

Residents of the capital should expect scattered rain showers to continue throughout the weekend.

Saturday’s weather will be partially cloudy, with a slight increase in temperatures as well as sporadic rain in the afternoon that will intensify throughout the night. Snowfall is expected at altitudes of 1,400 meters (the elevation of Hasroun) and above.

As for Sunday, residents of areas 1,500 meters and up can expect strong winds and sporadic rainfall.

Earlier in the morning, towns in north Lebanon’s Bsharri district had been covered with snow, and temperatures had dropped to minus 2 degrees Celsius in Bsharri, and minus 3 degrees in the Cedars, where temperatures will range from minus 2 to minus 3 degrees over the weekend.

The Public Works Ministry and the Bsharri Municipality spent the morning working to clear the roads.

As with every winter season, risk takers faced off against the snowfall, at times to their disadvantage.

Around 7 a.m., the Civil Defense announced that it had managed to rescue several people who had been locked in their cars in Mount Sannine, upward of 2,500 meters in elevation. The mission began at 11 p.m., the Civil Defense said, describing it in a statement as a “heavy rescue operation.”

“A backup of bulldozers was called in from nearby centers, but the [personnel] were only able to reach the citizens using a snowmobile belonging to the Internal Security Forces,” the statement added.

Elsewhere, the Internal Security Forces announced by 8 a.m. that Zahle’s Dahr al-Baidar road was accessible to vehicles except for trucks, while the Zahle-Tarshish road remained blocked by snowfall.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

Copyright © 2019, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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