‘Huda’ takes the Arab world by storm

The winter storm led to a brief closure of Beirut airport

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A powerful winter storm dubbed "Huda," also called "Zina," began striking across the Middle East on Tuesday including parts of Lebanon, with others bracing for the cold bitter weather.

In Jordan, people are storing food and fuel in anticipation of possible shutdown of main roads and stores during the storm, according to Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Amman.

The country’s Petra News Agency has said that “a tangible drop in temperatures is expected on Wednesday, and it will be very cold, cloudy and rainy in the northern and central parts of the country extending gradually to other regions.”

Ministries and other government offices in Jordan are to be closed Wednesday, while official exams this week are being postponed, Agence France-Presse reported.

On Thursday and Friday, temperatures in the capital Amman are expected to fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), according to the Weather Channel. Snow is expected to accumulate between 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 centimeters).

In Lebanon, authorities have urged people to “drive carefully and not take any mountain roads before checking on their status - clear or blocked - and following up on the relevant meteorology reports,” the Beirut-based Daily Star reported.

The fierce winter storm forced a brief closure of Beirut airport on Tuesday, the National News Agency reported.

Air traffic was halted at 7:00 pm (1500 GMT) with Lebanon buffeted by heavy winds, snow and flooding in some places. Flights resumed about an hour later.

At the same time, Lebanese authorities ordered schools throughout the country to close on Wednesday as the storm hit the country.

Last year, meteorologists in the region reportedly agreed to name winter storms after Arab names of “blissful significance.” Jordan is referring to this week’s anticipated storm as “Huda” (the right path) and Lebanon is referring to it as “Zina” (beautiful).

The snow storm is expected to hit parts of Israel and the Palestinian territories, and Jordan has sent snowploughs to the West Bank.

(with Agencies)