January 08, 2013

Code Red

We’re in code orange. Or maybe even red. That’s the Dutch Meteorological Institute’s expression for ‘very bad weather conditions; stay at home.’

Snow on Hamra, Beirut, in the sixites (source)

And that’s what the Ministry of Education decided as well; stay at home. And thus my children – after a holiday of 14 days and 1 day of school – are back at home again. As far as they are concerned, the weather can stay like that until May, when it is beach time again.

Snow is expected today on altitudes as low as 300 meters! This means we’ll be very cold in Beirut as well. Cold is a relative term of course. 7 degrees Celsius in Holland is do-able; here in Beirut it means you’re going to freeze your ass off as houses are not built at all for this kind of weather.

Actually, the whole town is not built for this kind of weather. Beirut is on the coast, and many parts of it are pretty much near sea level. We've had heavy and constant rain for most of the past 3 days, all of which is now running down the mountains into the sea. However, the wind is pushing up the waves against the coast, and as a result the rain water cannot run all off into the sea, and it all converges right here in Beirut.  Traffic comes to a halt as many roads near the coast flood, people don’t make it to work, and the rush hour is only made worse by all these children being transported to and from school. Solution: close schools.

And everyone is blogging about it with ample pictures. Lots of them hereand some more here.  

And now we’re waiting for snow in Beirut. I for one would love to see that, it would make me feel right at home.  

Snow in my neighborhood in Holland in 2010 (source)

It won’t stay that long, if it happens at all. It is a very unusual occurrence; the last time Beirut saw snow was somewhere in the sixties. 
Don't you just love this weather!

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