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Blizzard over as authorities warn of frost

By JT - Feb 21,2015 - Last updated at Feb 21,2015

AMMAN — A blizzard that hit the Levant and started its effect on Jordan Thursday evening began to subside Saturday as authorities warned of frost formation Saturday and Sunday.

Officials reported success in addressing the challenge posed by the snow, which almost covered the entire Kingdom, which is a rare occurrence in Jordan’s winter.

The Civil Defence Department (CDD) initially imposed a curfew on vehicles Saturday evening to avoid accidents after its cadres evacuated since Thursday 1,509 people stranded in the snow across Jordan, who were “either motorists or pedestrians”.

The CDD staff transported 261 kidney dialysis patients to the hospitals and back to their homes and dealt with 176 deliveries, some of which were inside the ambulances.

The Central Traffic Department (CTD) on Saturday said it towed over 350 vehicles that blocked traffic on the capital’s streets during the snowstorm.

During 48 hours, the department's machinery removed 354 vehicles that were either stuck in the storm or blocking roads, said Maj. Jalal Rahahleh, director of CTD’s public relations department, adding that the vehicles broke down or were not equipped to drive in this tough weather. 

Main roads were almost accessible by midday Saturday. Municipalities across the Kingdom reported that they were working on collecting garbage and clearing snow from side streets.

Abbas Hmeisat, media director at the Municipal Affairs Ministry, said the ministry’s operations room was still receiving comments from citizens and transferring notes to the concerned municipalities.

“The municipalities’ bulldozers and snow-clearing vehicles, as well as rented ones, have been in operation since the snowfall began according to plan,” he told The Jordan Times, adding that the snow-clearing process continued round the-clock in most areas.

The polar storm was good news as far as the water situation is concerned. A total of 13 million cubic metres of water entered the country’s 10 major dams over the weekend, a government official said on Saturday.

The dams now store 56.4 per cent of their total capacity, as storage levels increased by 5.4 per cent during the cold front, which prevailed between Wednesday night  (with heavy rain) and Saturday, according to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

Meanwhile, Royal Jordanian said Saturday that no major disruptions were witnessed in its flights over the weekend amidst the snowstorm.

The airline said no flights were cancelled at all and the situation was “almost normal” during the snowstorm. A similar report was given by officials at Aqaba Port. 

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