CAIRO: Celebrations for Coptic Christians on Christmas day have been relatively affected by the bad weather and cold temperatures hitting the country, lowering turnout to a number of cultural events.
In Cairo, signs of celebrations were absent in the early hours of the holiday, called in Arabic “Eid al-Milad al-Majeed.” However, dozens of the Copts visited the zoo, which put on special shows for its visitors, amid intensified security presence.
The Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA) predicted a wave of bad weather would hit Egypt starting from Tuesday to Thursday nationwide, and that temperatures would hit freezing in parts of the Sinai and Upper Egypt during Coptic Christmas celebrations.
“Although the weather is not fine, I will go out to make my daughter enjoy the celebration; it is a day in the whole year to celebrate,” Engy M. told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
Engy added that the weather “definitely affected the people,” adding that she knows people who chose to stay in their homes.
“I have been in France where the weather was very cold; and despite that I enjoyed my time,” she continued.
The highway roads leading to Cairo and Giza were covered by mist; the traffic management director Maged Moussa called on drivers to be cautious to prevent any possible road accidents, Youm7 reported. He affirmed that the security forces are on alert to facilitate the traffic movement on the roads.
Alexandria governorate saw snow, heavy rains, thunder, and lightening since the early hours of Wednesday while the ports in Sharm el-Sheikh and Suez ports closed due to the current cold.
The storm water covered the Alexandria streets temporarily halting traffic movement and forcing residents to stay home. Governorate security forces are on alert to facilitate the movements of cars while big vehicles suction the storm water, MENA reported.
The Alexandria and Dakhalia ports closed Tuesday after waves reached high levels, the Alexandria Port Authority announced Tuesday. Alexandria has witnessed intermittent snow fall since Monday.
“The bad weather impeded the Copts’ celebration as the number of the people who attended the Christmas mass was not big such as the turnout of last year,” said Jacqueline Munir, who lives in Alexandria.
“We planned to go out and celebrate but we could not in this weather,” Munir added.
The EMA General Director Waheed Saeed told Youm7 that the temperature will reach its lowest level Tuesday and Wednesday due to the cold front that struck the northern part of the Middle East coming from Europe.
Despite the bad weather, the Cairo International Airport announced that flights are operating normally, according to airport officials, adding that the airport is on alert as operation rooms have been formed to coordinate with the National Air Navigation Services Company.
The Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Houssam al-Moughzy said Wednesday that the ministry is on alert as all vacations of the workers and engineers have been cancelled in preparation for the expected heavy rains.
Additional Reporting by Hany Mohamed and Asmaa Nassar