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Storm packing snow and rain paralyzes parts of Lebanon

Published
Civil Defense workers struggle to push a stranded car on a street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — A winter storm packing heavy rain and snow on Tuesday turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country.

Among those affected were tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom live in tent settlements. In the eastern Bekaa Valley, many Syrian refugees stayed indoors next to diesel or wood heaters as snow covered their flimsy tents.

Authorities closed the highway linking Beirut with the Syrian capital Damascus after parts of it that cut through high mountains became covered with snow.

In the coastal town of Dbayeh, just north of Beirut, part of the highway was closed after it was filled with water. Rescuers later used small boats to help people stranded in their cars.

Most schools were closed Tuesday and the Lebanese education minister called for school to be closed even on the coast for a second day Wednesday.

On Monday, a woman gave birth in an ambulance as it took a long time to reach a hospital because of snow. The woman and the baby later arrived at the nearby hospital and both are in good health, according to state-run National News Agency.

The storm dubbed "Norma" began Saturday and is expected to reach its peak Tuesday night.

People cross a mud-flooded street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Walid Jumblatt, left, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druse sect, takes pictures of his wife Nura, as waves break, on the Mediterranean waterfront, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm in Lebanon brought cold temperatures and snow to Lebanon's mountains and heavy rainfall, strong winds on the Lebanese coast. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Strong winds and waves lash the Mediterranean Sea coastline, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Motorists drive on a flooded street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Walid Jumblatt, left, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druse sect, takes pictures of his wife Nura, as waves break, on the Mediterranean waterfront, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm in Lebanon brought cold temperatures and snow to Lebanon's mountains and heavy rainfall, strong winds on the Lebanese coast. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Walid Jumblatt, left, the political leader of Lebanon's minority Druse sect, takes pictures of his wife Nura, as waves break, on the Mediterranean waterfront, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm in Lebanon brought cold temperatures and snow to Lebanon's mountains and heavy rainfall, strong winds on the Lebanese coast. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Strong winds and waves lash the Mediterranean Sea coastline, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Strong winds and waves lash the Mediterranean Sea coastline, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
People cross a mud-flooded street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
People cross a mud-flooded street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Motorists drive on a flooded street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Motorists drive on a flooded street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Civil Defense workers struggle to push a stranded car on a street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Civil Defense workers struggle to push a stranded car on a street in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. A strong storm and heavy rainfall turned streets in Lebanon into rivers of water and mud and paralyzed parts of the country. The government ordered schools shut with snow expected to fall across the country at altitudes of 600 meters. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)