Man describes scorpion attack triggered by violent storms
Explosive thunderstorms in Egypt made worldwide headlines this week not only for the extensive damage they caused but due to hundreds of people being sent to hospitals after being stung by scorpions drawn out by heavy rains.
The severe thunderstorms that hit Aswan, Egypt, on Nov. 12, not only displaced over 300 people but also flushed swarms of scorpions from their underground burrows.
Severe thunderstorms that rolled across southern Egypt this past Friday unleashed flooding, strong winds, hail and hordes of venomous scorpions.
The storms caused damage across the region primarily due to flooding, but the most notable impact came when the pouring rain drove the poisonous scorpions out of their burrows and into homes. According to reports, the scorpions went on a stinging spree, which resulted in more than 500 people being sent to hospitals for treatment.
Local news outlets in Egypt reported three deaths, but none were blamed on the scorpions, The Associated Press reported, citing Egypt's Acting Health Minister Khalid Abdel-Ghafar. Those who were stung were treated with anti-venom doses and eventually discharged.
Mohamed Hamdy Boshta holds a scorpion, one of many that he hunts on Egyptian deserts and shores to extract their prized venom for medicinal use, at his company Cairo Venom on Dec. 6, 2020. Raging storms in Egypt Friday flushed out hundreds of scorpions from their hiding places. The one above is among 24 types of scorpions that live in North Africa, according to experts. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Health officials have even had to call in doctors who were on vacation to help treat the influx of patients, according to NPR.
Northern Africa is home to the Egyptian fat-tailed scorpion, which is considered to be one of the most poisonous scorpions in the world, according to the Saint Louis Zoo.
Thunderstorms first struck the southern city of Aswan, located near the Nile River, around 11 p.m. local time Friday with strong wind gusts, torrential downpours and hail. Strong winds also produced blowing dust as the storms rolled through and reduced visibility to near zero.
The city of Aswan was badly impacted by severe thunderstorms on Friday night.
While only 0.04 of an inch (about 1 mm) of rain was reported at the Aswan's weather observation site, heavier rain likely fell in other parts of the city due to the isolated nature of these thunderstorms, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls.
Video taken during the storms captured their ferocity as footage showed vivid lightning and wind-swept, driving rain that soaked the ground.
The thunderstorms in Aswan flooded streets and also toppled trees and power lines which led to power outages, according to Egypt Independent. The city of Aswan spent the night in the dark after the storm knocked out a power supply station.
“Low pressure moving across Egypt late Friday and Friday night triggered the thunderstorms around Aswan. This low went on to also produce isolated thunderstorms in far northeastern Egypt, southern Israel and northeastern Saudi Arabia into southern Jordan this past weekend,” said Nicholls.
Due to the lack of weather systems tracking through the region and minimal amount of moisture, thunderstorms of this magnitude are very rare in this area, according to Nicholls.
The normal yearly rainfall for Aswan is only about 0.05 of an inch (1.4 mm).
Heavy rain once again threatened parts of Egypt on Wednesday. Because of this, Major General Mohamed Al-Sharif, Governor of Alexandria, announced a state of emergency for the Governorate of Alexandria in order to better prepare resources for the expected rain, according to local media.
After the threat for additional heavy rain passed on Wednesday, AccuWeather forecasters say the remainder of the week is expected to remain rather dry across the region. By the weekend, another threat for locally heavy storms will develop as a storm churns over the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
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