The worst snowstorm in more than 50 years hit the Middle East, blanketing Cairo, Jerusalem and areas of Syria in white powder. It was the first time in 100 years that Egypt had seen snow. Internet quickly filled with images of snowball fights and landscapes. The UN expressed concern for refugees caught in the cold, but many families are ineligible for help because they are not registered with the UN. Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, was forced to close its doors briefly after snow clogged its main highway.
Due to Cairo's low rate of precipitation and typically above-freezing winter temperatures, snow is an exceptionally unusual weather phenomenon for the North African city. So unusual, in fact, that the last recorded snowfall in Cairo was more than 100 years ago. Ali Abdelazim, an official at the city's meteorological centre, confirmed to the Agence France-Presse this is the "first time in very many years" that snow has fallen in the Cairo area. Excited Egytians took to social media to share photographs of the unusual meteorological event. Though the snow brought delight to many Cairo residents, the winter storm, dubbed "Alexa", proved to be bad news for some. Alexa brought more misery to thousands of Syrian refugees living in the region, many of whom were unprepared for the cold, brutal conditions.