In Jerusalem, local media reported that schools and roads were closed, and transport suspended after four inches of snow – the most since 1953.
Palestinian and Israeli children shaped clusters into snowmen across the divided capital, with boys shrieking with delight as they put the finishing touches to a frosty man outside the gold-domed Al Aqsa mosque. “Last week, the chief rabbis asked Jews around the world to pray for rain in Israel since winter had begun with a dry spell,” Jewish online magazine Tablet reported.”Apparently, it worked.”
Snow, sleet and icy winds have covered Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, deepening the troubles of many war refugees, living in freezing tents. Many have melted snow on their stoves, their only source of drinking water.
The snow that has blanketed much of the Middle East turned Cairo white on Friday – with local news reports claiming it was Egypt’s capital’s first snowfall in 112 years.The cold weather was part of a storm, dubbed Alexa, which has been pounding much of Lebanon and parts of northern Syria since Wednesday, pushing temperatures below zero in mountainous areas and dumping snow and heavy rains.
The snow has heaped another layer of misery on the already grim existence of many of the more than two million Syrians who have fled the civil war raging in their homeland.In Lebanon, snow fell on northern and eastern regions where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are staying, many of them in flimsy plastic tents.
Up to 13cm (5in) have fallen in refugee camps in Lebanon with 8cm (3in) in the wartorn Syrian city of Homs. Jerusalem was left blanketed by up to 50cm (20in) of snow, forcing police to block access to and from the city as the army was called in to help restore power to more than 35,000 homes.
The city’s heaviest snowstorm for 50 years forced Israeli authorities to lift a ban on public transport on the Jewish Sabbath – Saturday.The unusually large fall allowed children to build snowmen but left elderly residents shivering.