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Farmers, cattle breeders urged to prepare for marbaniyeh weather

By Hana Namrouqa - Dec 22,2015 - Last updated at Dec 22,2015

AMMAN — As Tuesday marks the winter solstice and the start of marbaniyeh — the forty coldest days of the year — the Ministry of Agriculture has issued instructions to farmers, cattle breeders and owners of fisheries to follow to avoid losses due to freezing temperatures.

During marbaniyeh, several depressions affect the country, bringing heavy rain and freezing temperatures, the ministry’s spokesperson, Nimer Haddadin, said on Monday, highlighting that farmers

are required to take precautionary measures to minimise the impact of the cold weather on their crops.

"It is vital for farmers — especially in the Jordan Valley — cattle breeders and owners of fisheries to stay updated on the weather forecast to avoid losses during winter," Haddadin noted.

Farmers in the Jordan Valley should warm up greenhouses during the day and close them at night to preserve the heat, he said, adding that when temperatures dip to around zero, farmers should also burn dry grass near the crops and slightly water crops to mitigate the impact of frost spells.

Meanwhile, cattle breeders are urged to visit the ministry's directorates and veterinary clinics to receive vaccines and instructions; to keep newborn animals inside the barns; and to secure water and fodder there as well.

Following the first day of winter, the days will start to become longer and nights shorter, until they become equal on March 20, which is the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, according to the Jordan Meteorology Department (JMD).

During marbaniyeh, the country typically witnesses several depressions, while average temperatures in the capital range between a maximum of 12.7ºC and a minimum of 3.8ºC, according to the JMD.

Multiple depressions, very cold weather, and cold and dry easterly winds are characteristics of marbaniyeh, during which several frost spells take hold of the country due to the around-zero temperatures and very cold easterly winds.

The JMD has said that the Kingdom usually receives 30 per cent of its long-term annual average of rainfall of 8.3 billion cubic metres during marbaniyeh, which ends on January 30.

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