BEIRUT/SIDON: The coldest weather yet this winter hit Lebanon Thursday, bringing with it snow that may fall at altitudes as low as 1,100 meters - about the elevation of Baabdat - and heavy rains at lower areas.
A meteorologist based at the Beirut airport told The Daily Star that snow had so far hit places 1,700 to 1,600 meters in elevation - think Aqoura - but would fall to 1,200 meters in the next few hours.
He said the snow line could decrease to 1,100 meters early morning Friday, but he could not say how much snow would accumulate or whether it would make skiing at the handful of resorts across Lebanon viable.
Rain and snow can be expected throughout the week and into next week, though the precipitation will not be as intense as Thursday’s.
The temperature in Beirut Thursday hit 13 degrees Celsius. Along the coast, the mercury bobbled from 11-16 degrees; in the mountains, from 6-9; and in Bekaa, from 7-10. For tomorrow, the meteorologist forecasted 10-16 degrees on the coast, 3-9 degrees in the mountains and 4-10 degrees in Bekaa.
Fog could also be seen at low altitudes across the mountains Thursday.
In Sidon, high waves caused the port to close, preventing fishermen from heading out to sea. Floodwater collected on many of the city's streets, causing some cars to stall. A number of locals voiced anger at the state for allowing infrastructure works to go ahead in winter.
Some flooding also occurred in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Sidon, even though the United Nations agency for refugees and local organizations had completed maintenance on a number of rainwater drains the day before.
The southern port city of Tyre experienced flooding as well, and the storm damaged a number of greenhouses on the Sidon-Tyre road.