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Lebanon - Snow blocks roads, damages crops across the country

Multiple roads were blocked and crops suffered damaged across the country Sunday due to snow and hail, which is expected to subside in the evening.

Beirut airport’s Meteorology Department said snow is expected at altitudes of 1,200 meters throughout the day Sunday, and warned drivers of cars skidding at altitudes above 1,000 meters.

In Bsharri, snow covered areas above 1,200 meters, according to the state-run National News Agency. The Cedars saw 40 centimeters of snow, leaving farmers worried that fruit-bearing trees will be damaged if the temperatures drop further.

Snow started to accumulate at an altitude of 900 meters in Rashaya and Western Bekaa, with 5-20 centimeters of snow in higher mountain towns. Near Rashaya, many greenhouses were damaged and cattle were trapped in the snow.

Rainwater also damaged crops in Rashaya’s Ain Arab and surrounding towns.

The municipalities of Rashaya’s Ain Ata and nearby towns worked on removing snow and opening the roads.

In south Lebanon, the towns of Shebaa and Kfar Shuba were cut off by the snow, which reached depths of around 20 and 15 centimeters respectively. 25 centimeters of snow blocked the road connecting Shebaa to Rashaya, and heavy rain caused the Hasbani and Wazzani rivers to flood.

In north Lebanon’s Dinnieh, snow covered most of the towns 1,100 meters above sea level, with farmers worrying about the weather’s effects on the agricultural season, especially pear, apple and cherry trees.

Agricultural engineer Imad Mahmoud told the NNA that the snow might negatively impact cherry and apple trees, expressing fear of frost forming on the trees that would damage their flowers.

Snow in Aley and other towns above 1,000 meters reached around 7 centimeters.

The Internal Security Forces held checkpoints in Aley’s Sawfar and Zahle’s Dahr al-Baidar, only allowing SUVs and cars with chains to pass. The ISF reported that the road connecting Zahle to Tarshish was blocked, and the Dahr al-Baidar road was briefly blocked in the morning after multiple cars skidded.

In Chouf, roads above 1,000 meters were closed for cars with no chains, the NNA reported. Meanwhile in Baalbeck, the snow and frost damaged trees and crops.

The cold winds are expected to last until Monday, when temperatures will start rising but will remain below their average annual level, according to the Meteorology Department.

Source – http://www.dailystar.com.lb

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