Freezing Weather Blankets Much of KSA

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — An extreme cold weather has blanketed most parts of Saudi Arabia with six regions — Tabuk, Northern Borders, Al-Jouf, Hail, Qassim and Eastern Province – experiencing sub-zero temperatures.

Rainfall is also expected in many parts of the country by the middle of the week.

Meteorologists said the temperature would continue to drop in coming weeks. Riyadh and parts of Qassim are likely to experience record low temperatures in the next few days.

The drop in temperatures began with the start of the new year.

Madinah recorded the lowest temperature in western Saudi Arabia.

“The cold weather will continue in all parts of the Kingdom, especially its northern and western parts. It will be accompanied by surface winds with a strength of 50 km per hour, especially in the Northern Border Province, Al-Jouf, Tabuk, Hail, Madinah and Makkah,” said Hussein Al-Qahtani, spokesman of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment.

Strong cold winds are also expected in Riyadh, Qassim and the Eastern Province, including Hafr Al-Batin, Al-Qahtani said, adding that the sky would be partly cloudy to cloudy with the possibility of light rainfall in the northern and eastern regions.

He also expected snowfall in the northern regions, especially its northwestern parts of the country including Turaif, Qurayyat, Arar and the highlights of Tabuk. “We also expect rains in the Kingdom’s southern regions,” Al-Qahtani said.

The spokesman pointed out that thunderous rainy clouds could appear over Asir, Jazan and Baha regions, extending to the southern part of the Makkah region. Fog is likely to form in the northern regions as well as southwestern and western highlands during night and early morning hours.

Mansour Al-Mazroue, director of the center of excellence for research in climate change, said rainfall was expected in many parts of the country in coming days.

The southern cities of Bisha, Samakh and Khyber Al-Janoub received moderate to heavy rain on Friday, while it rained heavily in Mandaq governorate and adjoining areas in the southwestern province of Baha on Thursday.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Musnad, professor of geography and meteorology, said January — especially the first 10 days — is the coldest month in the Kingdom.

He said the winter in 2008 was the coldest in recent memory when the temperature dropped to –10 degrees Celsius in Hail and –5 degrees Celsius Riyadh.

Meanwhile, street vendors selling sweaters and other winter clothes are making a fortune. Vendors tend to park their vehicles in busy business centers to attract large numbers of customers who want to buy cheap winter wear to protect them from the cold weather.

But many citizens have criticized the trend. They say the vendors sell low quality wear at a premium, exploiting the extreme weather conditions.



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