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2/19/2008

January coldest in last 15 years

Israel
JANUARY THE COLDEST IN THE LAST 15 YEARS -
The forecasters were predicting snow in Jerusalem last night; if this indeed happened, it would be Jerusalem's third snowfall of the season. But while "this is not something especially common, something that happens every year, neither is it exceptional." Jerusalem gets two snowfalls a year about every five years. In the winter of 2000-2001, the city had snow three times, and in 1999-2000, it had four snowy days. In 1991-1992, an especially harsh winter, the capital had 10 days of snow. Forecasters attributed the general feeling that this winter has been especially severe, not to the precipitation, but to last month's UNUSUAL cold. In most parts of the country, this was the coldest January since 1992, and during the first of its two cold spells, in mid-month, temperatures in SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY HIT ALL-TIME LOWS. January was also UNUSUAL for how many cold days in a row there were. Sde Boker, for instance, experienced six days in a row of temperatures below zero degrees Celsius - the LONGEST SUCH STRETCH SINCE 1964. In contrast, February has thus far been a typical winter month. However, "the current cold front might send us below the average."

LEBANON - A new winter storm started to batter Lebanon on Monday noon, spreading heavy rainfalls, snow, speedy winds and thunderstorms across the country, with weather forecasters expecting the tempest to recede as of Thursday. Southern regions saw torrential rains and biting cold on Monday afternoon, with hailstorms hitting most of the South. In Sidon, hailstorms, strong winds and sea currents shut down the city's harbor. Heavy rains left the southern port city's streets flooded and turned them into fast-flowing rivers. A severe snowstorm gripped Lebanon last month, when snow fell along the coast for the first time in years. It isolated several villages across the country, damaged agricultural crops and played havoc with electricity and telephone cables. Separately, residents of the southern regions which had been rocked by an earthquake earlier last week urged the relevant authorities on Monday to provide them with the assistance they need with the start of the current storm. Several buildings had suffered cracked walls, causing rainwater to penetrate into their homes.
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