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Amman municipality, electricity distribution company brace for expected snowstorm

By Laila Azzeh - Dec 31,2015 - Last updated at Dec 31,2015

AMMAN — The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) on Thursday unveiled its plans to ensure public safety ahead of the polar front, expected to bring snow on Friday.

As the impact of the polar front is forecast to bring heavy rain and snow, the municipality announced the highest degree of alert and took several measures to prepare for emergencies, said Izz Eddein Shammout, GAM's deputy director for the city's administrative affairs.

"We have held a meeting today [Thursday] to check on the preparedness of our field operations to deal with weather-related emergencies," he told The Jordan Times.

GAM put its machineries and human resources on alert ahead of the expected front, which according to the Jordan Meteorological Department, is expected to deepen on Friday, causing temperatures to dip well below their annual average.

Snowfall is forecast over high mountains, extending at night to areas 800 metres above sea level and higher, which includes the capital.

A total of 17 salt spreader trucks will be put into service to sprinkle salt to melt ice and snow on roads across the capital, while 92 loaders will be placed in "vital" roads, said Shammout, who noted that for the first time, three six-inch pumps to extract water from tunnels will be used.

"There is also a 20cm water pump that will be used when needed."

Also for the first time, GAM has placed three mobile trailers as emergency units near the 5th, 7th and Interior Ministry circles.

"The trailers are fully equipped and include engineers and labourers who will be ready to assist people around-the-clock," said Shammout, adding that the municipality will seek the cooperation of the private sector.

"We also coordinated with the Public Works Ministry to ensure that the Queen Alia International Airport Highway will remain open during the polar front," he said.

GAM urged residents who will spend New Year's Eve outdoors to be careful.

"We want people to be as careful as possible and celebrate in a responsible way," Shammout said.

GAM’s emergency centre in Tlaa Al Ali will be available to receive complaints on 5359970 and 5359971.

Also on Thursday, the Electricity Distribution Company (EDCO) said it is on maximum alert to deal with any emergencies arising from the weather, citing its preparedness to ensure the sustainability of power supply across Jordan, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

In a statement, EDCO Director General Hassan Thneibat banned the company's employees from taking leave during the emergency state, noting that the company has coordinated with district governors, departments of public security and civil defence and the concerned ministries.

Meanwhile, Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission President Farouq Hiyari called on electricity companies to "apply their months-long preparation efforts on the ground", reported Petra.

 

Citing the possibility of a snowstorm during the coming few days, he urged power companies to take the necessary measures and draw up an emergency plan to prevent power cuts.

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