A severely inclement weather system swept across the Middle East on Sunday, killing six people in Egypt, five of whom were electrocuted by a fallen power cable, pounding Israel with baseball-sized hailstones, and sending torrents of uncollected garbage through the streets of Beirut.
The cable from a tramway in the coastal city of Alexandria landed in streets flooded with water, electrocuting the five, senior health official Magdy Hegazy said. He said a sixth person, a judge, drowned when he was trapped in his car by the floodwaters.
State news agency MENA reported heavy rains in several other Egyptian governorates, with authorities closing the port of Ain Sokhna near the southern end of the Suez Canal due to high winds and waves.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ordered the government to provide aid to the hard-hit Alexandria area, while sandstorms and flash floods hit parts of the Sinai Peninsula. Cairo was also hit by a rare rainstorm.
In Israel, high winds knocked over cranes while hail the size of baseballs struck cities across the country.
In Pardes Hanna, a 20-year-old construction worker was killed when a wall in a construction site was toppled by strong winds that buffeted the area, along with heavy rains.
שעון חורף שעון חורף, אבל למה באקסטרים? ברד והפסקת חשמל ברעננה. pic.twitter.com/9XGetukYcb
— dafnatalmon (@dafnatalmon) October 25, 2015
Elsewhere, trees were knocked down, including one that hit a bus, seriously injuring a passenger.
Israel’s weather service reported wind speeds of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour.
Amateur footage published on social media showed a construction crane collapsing in central Tel Aviv, flash flooding, cars squashed by trees and pedestrians seeking shelter from the massive hailstones.
The weather caused blackouts in several wind-swept towns and cities, including Herzliya, Netanya, Ramat Hasharon, Petah Tikva, Givat Shmuel and a number of communities in the north of the country.
Police on Sunday afternoon closed Route 90 between the southern resort city of Eilat and Be’er Ora due to flooding.
כביש 90 נחסם לתנועה בין הכניסה לאילת לבאר אורה בעקבות שיטפונות. הנהגים מתבקשים לנסוע בכביש 12 pic.twitter.com/P0f4TA019G
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) October 25, 2015
In the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, heavy rains and flooding caused parts of a road to collapse, Palestinian media reported.
According to Ramallah News, the road leading to the Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital, the city’s only major medical center, was severely damaged by the storm.
صور لانهيار أجزاء من شارع بالقرب من مستشفى ثابت ثابت بمدينة طولكرم قبل قليل بسبب غزارة الامطار ولا اصابات
In Lebanon, meanwhile, heavy rains caused floodwaters to mix with mounds of uncollected garbage, raising public health concerns.
The country has been in the grip of a monthslong trash crisis caused by the government shutting down the city’s main landfill without offering an alternative. The crisis has ignited mass protests against the government, which has failed to provide a number of basic services and is widely seen as corrupt and dysfunctional.
Activists from the You Stink movement, which has been leading the protests, shared videos on their Facebook page of plastic trash bags and other garbage floating down a narrow street lined with cars. The Beirut river, where garbage had been piling up on the banks for months, resembled an open sewer. Activists volunteered to help clean it, which could revive the anti-government campaign.