January 23, 2016


Clouds over Beirut
Beautiful clouds today. A sure sign that another storm is in the making. The Meteorological Department expects ‘Thalassa’, as the snowstorm is called, to hit the country starting Saturday and until Wednesday with snow fall as low as 700 meters. That’s pretty low, for Lebanese standards. The emergency services have announced they’re all ready, and that they’d like you to use snow chains or, better yet, stay at home. My daughter is already preparing for a snow day, and assumes the Minister of Education will announce the closure of all schools on Monday.
While driving up, there is still a little bit of sun left
 I am a little bit ambiguous about these snow days. I understand that the children up in the mountains may have difficulties reaching their schools, and that if they safely make it to school, they will most likely freeze to death inside the classroom, due to inadequate government funding of their educational institutes.  
However, they have always had storms and difficult mountains roads and inadequate funding, so why the sudden change of heart? We only started having storm days the last 3 years. Besides, why the whole country, if the storm does not affect students from schools in Beirut?
But the sun was gone while I reached Bhamdoun
And to make it even stranger, if you are so concerned about these students sitting in freezing cold temperatures in their classrooms, why not work on proper funding and make sure the heaters and electricity do work, instead of waiting for a storm and then keeping them al at home, annoying their parents?
Rain in the lower rains, snow starting at 1,200 meters this afternoon. It will snow tomorrow (Sunday) at much lower altitudes, predicts the local weather bureau. As low as 700 meters. That would cover all this in a white blanket. I think I'll go up tomorrow again to see the difference.

And if he’s going to announce a storm day, maybe he can do it a little earlier, so maybe I can organize a night in the snow, instead of having to wait for the 8 o’clock news, when it is too late to pack the whole family in a car and drive up to the mountains.
I found a golden jackal on my walk this morning. Beautiful animals.  I took a picture because it lay there so pretty. Not shot or run over. Maybe poisoned. My dogs didn't dare touch him. They're pretty common in the mountains. You hear them howl at night as they hunt in packs.
These are, of course, all very much first world problems. Instead I should be grateful for a warm house. I wouldn’t want to be a refugee to start with, but I most definitely would not want to be a refugee now, with this weather.


Tanya Dernaika said...

Absurdity perfectly captured, as are the dramatic shots of Lebanon in stormy weather.

Sietske said...

@ Tanya, thanks! And we got our snow day :)

Anonymous said...

In DC, they don't announce it until 11 PM or later. Sometimes the very early AM. This is because they have to wait for all the other agencies to announce first. The transit system has to shut down, and they don't announce before 10 PM unless it's very severe. Then the federal government has to announce, and sometimes they can delay it until 2 AM. Only then will the schools announce a closure. This past week for us has just been ridiculous as parents sometimes had a few hours notice to arrange childcare. WE FEEL YOUR PAIN!