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Snow storm blankets Middle East

Snow in Jerusalem. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty

THE MIDDLE EAST
has been hit by a FREA
K blizzard a few days after parts of China were blanketed in heavy snow. The Israeli weather service said up to 20cm (8in) of snow had fallen in Jerusalem. More was expected this morning. In Jordan, police said roads into the capital, Amman, were temporarily closed. In Syria, temperatures dipped below freezing and snow blanketed the hills overlooking Damascus. High winds of 70km/h (45mph) forced the closure of the Mediterranean ports of Tartous and Lattakia.

LEBANON - Heavy snow pummeled Lebanon on Wednesday leaving thousands without power or telephone lines, and causing widespread havoc on roads. Internal Security Forces declared emergency, warning motorists against driving on mountainous roads due to thick fog, snow and ice. Coastal cities saw heavy rain and the formation of a RARE thin layer of hailstones on cars and roads as TEMPERATURES REACHED RECORD LOW LEVELS. Tens of villages were isolated and lost power during the storm. The storm inflicted severe damages to crops and properties all over the Bekaa valley and most regions that lie 650 meters above sea level. Heavy snow fall paralyzed the villagers' movement and forced the closure of schools, stores and firms in mountainous regions.

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