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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 March 2021

Lebanon receives fresh snowfall as Storm Joyce abates

Regional storm has brought rain, high winds and hail since Tuesday

Fresh snow covered Lebanon’s mountainous regions at the weekend after days of strong winds and heavy rain engulfed the country.

Storm Joyce, which hit Lebanon late on Tuesday, brought a sharp drop in temperatures and heavy hail at low altitudes, with winds of up to 85 kilometres per hour.

The storm has since subsided, with temperatures expected to gradually increase next week, according to the Meteorological Department at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut.

The snowfall blocked roads in mountainous regions, with the department warning people against driving after sunset at altitudes above 800 metres where ice was expected to form on the roads.

Many Lebanese welcomed the snow, sharing pictures on social media. But for thousands of Syrian refugees living in tents across the country, the storm brought new challenges.

“Freezing temperatures, flooded shelters, collapsed roofs, snow & strong winds. This is what winter storms mean for refugees living in flimsy tents,” said Lisa Abou Khaled, the UN refugee agency's spokeswoman in Lebanon.

Storm Joyce hit Lebanon’s ailing infrastructure hard, resulting in increased power rationing in a country that still suffers from daily electricity cuts about 30 years after the end of a civil war.

Municipalities have also struggled to carry out maintenance work as the government, reeling under the burden of an economic crisis, fell short of providing the necessary funding for local authorities.

Updated: February 21, 2021 09:31 AM

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