Rare snowfall shuts down Jerusalem, blankets Cairo

BY newsdesk  December 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM EST

A winter storm moving through the Middle East since Wednesday has shut down in Jerusalem, blanketed Egypt’s suburbs and ports with rare snow and brought freezing temperatures and heavy rain to camps housing more than two million refugees in Syria.

The Los Angeles Times reports that nearly three feet of snow closed down roads in Jerusalem on Friday and left thousands without power. Israeli soldiers have rescued hundreds snowed in their cars.

The storm, called Alexa, has compounded the hardship for millions of Syrians who had fled the civil war in their homeland. Reuters reports that aid agencies are working to evacuate refugees from flooded camps in Lebanon and Jordan and distribute food and shelter, but are falling short of the demand. The BBC also reports that the bad weather has prevented the UN from airlifting supplies to areas inside Syria.

Local Eqyptian reports said Cairo hasn’t seen snow in more than 100 years. The Weather Underground said that the capital averages less than an inch of rain each year.