Not so rare: Snow blankets Middle East as winter arrives for consecutive years
Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 12:36 PM - The Middle East looked more like central Canada Wednesday as a rare winter storm covered an area from Turkey to Israel with snow and falling temperatures. But for residents in the affected areas, the past few winters have brought snow, despite previously going decades without seeing it at all.
Snow in the Middle East. Lebanon for sure -- perhaps on Sinai peninsula. pic.twitter.com/opXMsrOiT4— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) January 7, 2015
However, the area is not typically prepared for winter weather, and the result travel and transportation in the region has been brought to a crawl.
The bizarre weather can be traced to an unusually sharp dip in the jet stream, which brought strong winds and in several locations, snow on the ground. As mentioned, the area typically does not see snowfall, but the past two winters have delivered significant storms and snowfalls to the Middle East. In December 2013, storms descended on parts of Syria, Jordan and Israel, dumping record snowfall totals, areas that had not witnessed snow in 50 years. That storm also brought snow to Egypt, giving it snow for the first time in over 100 years.
According to Israel's Meteorological Service, snow was forecast Tuesday night into Wednesday, with blizzard conditions expected to impact Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that the country was prepared to deal with the storm, but asked residents to "just keep an eye on neighbors and help."