Potent winter storm turns deadly as it wreaks havoc across the Middle East

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An Afghan man removes snow from his shelter in Kabul, Afghanistan January 12, 2020. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

A deadly winter storm brought severe impacts to millions of people from parts of the Arabian Peninsula to Pakistan beginning late last week and through the weekend.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="At least 54 people were killed by the combination of heavy snowfall, brutal cold and severe flooding in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the Associated Press (AP).” data-reactid=”14″>At least 54 people were killed by the combination of heavy snowfall, brutal cold and severe flooding in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The storm got underway on Thursday with scattered showers and a few thunderstorms from eastern Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and far northern Oman into southern Iran.

The heaviest rain arrived across the UAE, far northern Oman and southeastern Iran late on Friday and continued into Saturday.

Widespread rainfall totals reached between 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) from Thursday to Sunday across the Middle East.

Dubai, UAE, reported 60 mm (2.35 inches) and Muscat, Oman, reported 42 mm (1.64 inches).

This magnitude of rainfall caused severe flooding and widespread travel disruptions.

Locations from Doha to Dubai and Muscat typically average 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) of rainfall for an entire year.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Across the Persian Gulf, torrential rainfall caused flooding chaos and also resulted in at least one death, according to Iran Front Page.” data-reactid=”22″>Across the Persian Gulf, torrential rainfall caused flooding chaos and also resulted in at least one death, according to Iran Front Page.

More than 1,000 people were rescued amid the flooding which has left some towns completely isolated due to inundated roadways.

The worst flooding occurred in Sistan-Baluchestan province where 186 mm (7.32 inches) was reported. The yearly average total rainfall is only 119 mm (4.69 inches).

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APP” data-reactid=”25″>CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APP

Locally heavy rainfall also spread across the lower elevations of Afghanistan and southwestern Pakistan through the end of the weekend causing significant flooding.

In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, photo, people walk on a road during heavy snow fall in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province. Much of the damage was caused in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province where Imran Zarkon, the head of provincial disaster management authority, said 14 people were killed in the past 24 hours because of collapsed roofs amid winter’s unusual snowfall, which also blocked highways and disrupted normal life. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)

This storm also produced heavy snow across higher elevations from Iran into Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.

At least 30 deaths have been reported in Pakistan due to the flooding and heavy snowfall.

Eleven people died in Punjab province due to flooding while at least 16 people were killed in snow-related events across the country as many locations reported more than 30 cm (12 inches) of heavy wet snow which caused roofs to collapse.

Multiple avalanches were also reported in northern Pakistan. The threat for avalanches will remain high into the middle of the week.

People sit around a fire to warm themselves after a heavy snowfall in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Severe winter weather has struck parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with heavy snowfall, rains and flash floods that left more than 40 dead, officials said Monday as authorities struggled to clear and reopen highways and evacuate people to safer places. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)

Severe cold weather is also a concern across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As of Saturday, frigid cold ushered into the area has been blamed for four deaths in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

At least 24 totals deaths have been confirmed due to the winter storm in Afghanistan. The government added that 131 homes had been destroyed due to flooding in southern parts of the country, according to the AP.

Improved weather is forecast for the region on Tuesday before another storm targets parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan with rain and snowfall late this week.

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