Lebanon Sunday began to feel the impact of a heavy storm that is expected to gather force in the upcoming days, bringing more snow to Lebanon's peaks.
The low air pressure that hit Lebanon Saturday evening intensified and turned into a storm that Beirut airport's Meteorological Department has dubbed "Norma." It is set to batter the country with heavy rainfall, strong winds, snow and colder temperatures.
The storm paralyzed sea traffic in Tripoli's fishermen port Sunday. In Sidon's port, many fishermen removed their boats from the water as a protective measure.
Due to the heavy rainfall and accompanying strong winds, a wall and a number of trees collapsed in the Kfar Shuba neighborhood on the Mieh Mieh road in east Sidon, damaging parked cars and severing power lines.
An electricity pole fell at a car in Zahrani causing material damage.
A member of the emergency team at Sidon Municipality was severely injured when a billboard fell on him as a result of the strong winds.
In Jezzine, the municipalities and towns braced themselves for the storm as the mountains facing the governorate witnessed snowfall at an altitude of 1,400 meters. The Red Cross and Civil Defense were on alert in the area.
In Rashaya and Western Bekaa, preparations for the storm also began, according to the state-run National News Agency.
The municipalities there were ordered to remain on alert and ensure that remote areas were not isolated by the anticipated snowfall.
The heavy rainfall caused floods and rockfalls in Batroun earlier in the day. A partial landslide temporality blocked the Chekka tunnel towards Beirut before it was cleared.
The Internal Security Forces has urged citizens to drive carefully during the rain in order to prevent skidding. It added that the Zahle-Tarshish road was accessible to SUVs and cars equipped for snow.
The agency also announced it had rescued six people in Hermel who had been trapped in snow.
Meanwhile, air traffic at the airport has not experienced delays, according to a statement from the Transport Ministry, which said caretaker Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos has been following up on preparations for the storm. The minister also called on citizens to follow instructions from security forces regarding which roads are accessible.
Monday's weather will be cloudy along with wind speed that exceeds 80 kph. Temperatures will drop further, with snow expected below 1,000 meters.
The weather Tuesday will begin with sporadic rainfall in the morning that will intensify in the afternoon, accompanied with winds whose speed will reach 90 kph. Snow will fall starting at 800 meters.
The transport minister said citizens can call 03-363699 to reach Director-General of Roads and Buildings Tanios Boulos, and 03-071965 to call Director-General of Civil Aviation Mohamad Chehabeddine, to follow up on the status of roads and flights.
Source: The Daily Star