BEIRUT/SIDON: Lebanon awoke to heavy winds, rain and a skyline covered in fog Thursday, witnessing its coldest temperatures yet this winter.
Snow is expected at altitudes as low as 1,100 meters - about the elevation of Metn’s Baabdat - and heavy rains at lower areas through the weekend.
At around 7 p.m., Baabdat resident Roy C. told The Daily Star that there was no snowfall yet, “but it is freezing up here.”
A meteorologist based at Beirut’s airport told The Daily Star earlier in the day that snow was falling at 1,600-1,700 meters, but just a few hours later said flurries had reached 1,200 meters.
The meteorologist predicted that the snow line could decrease to 1,100 meters early Friday, but could not say how much snow would accumulate or whether skiing would be possible. Rain and snow can be expected to last into next week, though the precipitation will not be as intense as Thursday’s.
The temperature in Beirut hit 13 degrees Celsius. Along the coast, the mercury bobbled from 11 to 16 degrees; in the mountains, from 6 to 9; and in the Bekaa, from 7 to 10.
For Friday, the meteorologist forecast 10-16 degrees on the coast, 3-9 degrees in the mountains and 4-10 degrees in the Bekaa.
The Internal Security Forces reported that all the roads to Kfar Zebian’s ski resorts were passable, but that the road from Kfar Zebian to Baalbeck was closed due to snow.
In Western Bekaa, temperatures dropped to 2 degrees as snow fell on many villages.
In the southern city of Sidon, high waves caused the port to close, preventing fishermen from heading out to sea. Floodwater collected on many of the city’s streets, stalling several cars. Some flooding also occurred in Sidon’s Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, despite the U.N. agency for Palestine refugees and local organizations having completed maintenance on a number of stormwater drains the day before.
The southern city of Tyre also saw flooding, and a storm damaged greenhouses on the Sidon-Tyre road.