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Heavy snow cuts off Jerusalem

Winter storm batters Middle East for fourth day in a row

JERUSALEM | January 10, 2013

A heavy snowfall in Israel cut off the entrance to Jerusalem Thursday as a winter storm battered the Middle East for the fourth day in a row, forecasters said.

At least four deaths in Lebanon and two in the West Bank have been blamed on the weather that has caused widespread power outages, property damage and heavy flooding, The (Beirut) Daily Star reported.

Weather forecasters predicted the storm would die down by midday Thursday, but not before dumping more snow, flooding rivers. High winds caused temperatures to plummet.

In Jerusalem, heavy snow caused city officials to halt public transportation and request residents stay at home, the Haaretz live blog reported.

In Egypt, several buildings collapsed, crops have been ruined and only 6,101 of Cairo's 14,136 drains are properly working due to the storm, the Egypt Independent reported.

Meanwhile, 39 flights in and out of Istanbul were canceled due to snowfall, the semi-official Turkish news Anadolu Agency reported.

Temperatures are approximately 9 to 18 degrees below normal for this time of year in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel, CNN said. Temperatures should rebound toward the end of the week, though cold air currents from Europe are predicted to cause more cold snaps this winter, the Muslim Brotherhood newspaper Freedom and Justice reported.

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