Storm packing snow and rain paralyzes parts of Lebanon

Storm packing snow and rain paralyzes parts of Lebanon
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)

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

Among those affected Tuesday are tens of thousands of Syrian refugees many of whom live in tent settlements.

In the eastern Bekaa Valley, 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.

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.

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