Thousands Suffering Following Middle East Storm

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
December 17, 2013; 7:51 AM ET
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Thousands of people across the Middle East remain isolated or without power following one of the worst winter storms in decades across the region.

Parts of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel were hardest hit with heavy mountain snowfall and flooding rain in the lower elevations.

Thousands were without power during the peak of the storm last week, and unfortunately many remain without power as unseasonable cold prevails over the region.

A satellite image taken on Dec. 15, 2013, by NASA shows snowcover over the higher terrain of the region.

Since the beginning of the storm, temperatures have averaged 6.9 degrees C (12.4 F) below normal in Tel Aviv and 8.8 degrees C (15.8 F) below normal in Jerusalem.

These frigid temperatures have resulted in life-threatening conditions for those without power and cut off from any aid by the heavy snowfall or flooding.

The good news is that milder weather is expected to build over the region over the next week, slowly bringing temperatures closer to normal levels.

A car is submerged in snow in the Druze village of Beit Jann on Mt. Meron in the Galilee, northern Israel, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Also fuel shipments to the Gaza strip have enabled power to be restored to some areas that suffered widespread flooding from the storm, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The United Nations began shipping supplies to refugees in Syria over the weekend.

Syrian refugees carry aid from charity donated by the local municipality near the ancient Roman city of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. Tens of thousands of impoverished Syrian refugees living in tents, shacks and unfinished buildings throughout Lebanon face a miserable winter as aid organizations scramble to meet their needs, constantly overwhelmed by ever-more Syrians fleeing their country's war. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Nights will remain unseasonably cold, however, resulting in dangerous conditions for anyone exposed to elements.

Dry weather will prevail into next week aiding in relief efforts across the entire region.


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