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Heavy rains hinder routine life of Egyptians

English.news.cn   2013-12-14 21:44:38            

by Marwa Yahia

CAIRO, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- For the third day in a row, a cold wave coupled with strong winds and rains hit Egypt on Saturday causing residents to change their schedules over weekend holidays and pursued warm indoor.

"Watery potholes are everywhere, I couldn't risk my children and drive in this mildly streets," said Amirah Adly, a 38-years- old tour guide in Delta Tourist Company, who cancelled her vacation routine activities to entertain his children on Friday and Saturday.

With hot drinks and heavy blankets my children spent the whole Friday sticking to the windows while being happy to see the heavy rains and rare small pieces of snow, Amirah said, adding its company cancelled all tours to the pyramids site on Friday fearing accidents on roads.

Due to El-Qassem Gale storm which hits the country during this time of the year, the temperature currently ranges between 5 to 11 degrees Celsius in Cairo and is expected to sink to around 2-3 degrees Celsius on Saturday night, Mahmoud Omar, expert at the Egyptian Meteorological Authority told Xinhua.

The current cold weather will continue for the coming three days, the expert said, adding that the winds over both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea ranged between 25-30 knots per hour.

Due to the wind and the low temperatures, the authorities cancelled dozens of flights and closed several ports in the Canal cities of Port said, Suez and Damietta.

Four fishing boats were reportedly drown in the coastal city of Alexandria, but the authorities managed to rescue nearly fifty fisherman, and still working around the clock to search for other three missing, Akarm Aly, official at Alexandria eastern port said.

As streets are blocked and coffee shops are closed, the netizens claimed the winter has been the coldest in record for over hundred years. However, the weather forecasters said the fog and the rains are usual for the time of the year, noting the snowfall came as the first in Cairo in several years.

Cairo streets were almost empty of cars and people unusually in the weekend, and citizens in several districts, and in nearly all districts surrounding the capital complained about repeated cuts in power supply.

Karim Al-Sayed, a coffee shop owner in Maadi district in southern Cairo, didn't spread his chairs and tables in the street as usual in the morning where the workers in the nearby Ahly Bank are used to have their traditional breakfast and tea.

Wearing very long waterproof coat and gloves, Sayed said while removing the water piles which are almost sneaking inside his coffee, "the heavy rains caused me great losses and forced the closure of the coffee on Friday afternoon, while I usually closed my cafe in the early hours of Saturdays."

Nearby the coffee, a lady in her 40s carrying her daughter was struggling to pass the road by avoiding both the coming cars and the water overwhelming a drainage system which is not properly designed to handle the huge amounts of water.

Most tunnels and traffic were briefly closed. Cars meanwhile crawled on the slippery roads, while the policeman urged citizens in Maadi Horiah main square to take care.

Emad Adel, a 33-years-old taxi driver said rains were seldom seen in Cairo over the past years, though it is a usual phenomenon in Delta provinces.

He added Cairo isn't ready to handle heavy rains and needs to fix first its sanitation system, noting the drainage are almost closed with rubbish.

In Downtown Cairo, hundreds of vendors who display their products randomly in the street under plastic sheets suffer very much.

Am Hussein, a 70-year-old man who has been selling English used novels in small narrow street leading to the American University in Cairo, said the plastic covers couldn't prevent the water to spoil his products or remove the ink of the books.

"I couldn't buy a shop in this expensive area," the old man complained.

Elsewhere in Egypt, the scene is different at state's highest summit, St. Catherine in Sinai where the temperature reached 2 degrees sub-zero.

TV footage showed children are forming shapes of snow and taking photos with the tourists who are climbing Moussa Mountain.

Muarad Samaloty, a manger for Golden Tourist Company in Sharm El Sheikh expected high rates of tourists especially the Russians who will escape the more snowy weather in Asia and Europe.

The weather in Egypt is warm and cool when compared even to some Arab countries like Lebanon and Jordan, he added.

Editor: Hou Qiang
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