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Authorities on standby ahead of expected inclement weather

By Maria Weldali - Jan 26,2022 - Last updated at Jan 26,2022

Civil Defence Personnel and snow plow trucks are seen in this combo image on Wednesday ahead of the expected weather conditions (Petra photos)

AMMAN — As a cold air mass is forecast to impact the Kingdom, bringing very cold weather conditions with brisk winds and snowfall to mountainous areas, government authorities step up their efforts and remain alert to any weather changes.

The Jordan Meteorological Department (JMD) announced that mountainous areas 800 metres above sea level and higher are forecast to witness snow on Wednesday.

In a statement made available to The Jordan Times, JMD Director Raed Al Khattab said: “The polar air mass that will hit the Kingdom following the afternoon hours on Wednesday, will bring snow accumulations.”

Most areas in the Kingdom are expected to witness very cold weather conditions with brisk wind, according to the department which added that temperatures will continue to decrease on Thursday, and that snowfall is expected to continue in areas 900 metres above sea level and higher.

The JMD warned the public of low visibility caused by low-altitude clouds, slippery roads, flash floods in low-lying areas, snow accumulations in high altitudes, and winds raising dust.

Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh on Wednesday directed all ministries and institutions to be at the highest levels of preparedness to deal with the prevailing weather conditions in a way that maintains the safety of citizens and sustains work of vital and service institutions and hospitals.

During a meeting at the Prime Ministry with several ministers, Khasawneh highlighted the importance of full coordination among operations rooms of ministries and stakeholders round the clock, unifying efforts to sustain the work of hospitals and providing basic services for citizens nationwide, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.  

He also urged for ensuring the preparedness of hospitals to receive emergency cases and kidney dialysis patients, in addition to ensuring the preparedness of power generators and having enough oxygen reserves.

The premier also highlighted the significance of having enough reserves of basic commodities in markets and bakeries, and providing enough services for Syrian refugee camps, including caravans in case of having high water levels.

Khasawneh called for paying attention to tourists and offering any services they need in a way that ensures their safety, especially when they are in areas with snowfall and road closures.

Interior Minister Mazen Faraiah on Wednesday said that all required measures have been taken to deal with the prevailing weather conditions. 

Chairing a remote meeting with administrative governors, Faraiah stressed the need for maintaining coordination with the crisis centre, the Jordan Red Crescent, the PSD and other related bodies to meet the public needs, including the citizens, residents and refugees, amid the prevailing weather conditions, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.  

Ahead of the expected inclement weather conditions, Public Security Directorate (PSD) Director Maj. Gen. Hussein Hawatmeh instructed all relevant authorities to prepare security stations to serve as accommodation centres, to receive stranded people. 

Hawatmeh also stressed the need for harnessing PSD’s entire resources, to efficiently and effectively provide humanitarian services to the public.

The PSD also called on the public not to hesitate and to ask for help upon emergencies by calling 911.

Awqaf Minister Mohammad Khalaileh also issued directives to open the Kingdom’s mosques to give stranded people shelter, Petra said.

The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) called on the public to adhere to the guidelines provided by relevant agencies, and urged them to stay off the roads during snowfall. 

The GAM added that snow sweepers and other service vehicles are on standby in light of the expected inclement weather conditions. 

The GAM also urged people to contact the following emergency numbers when necessary: 065359970/065359971/0798166789. 

Meanwhile, the Local Administration Ministry on Wednesday announced a state of maximum alert. The main operations room at the ministry headquarters and all emergency rooms in municipalities and joint services councils are on alert across the Kingdom to deal with the forecast weather.

The ministry said that it prepared a comprehensive plan in the main emergency room, 100 emergency rooms in municipalities and 17 at joint services councils.

Director General of the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) Amjad Rawashdeh declared a state of emergency, and voiced the company’s readiness to respond to the extreme weather conditions.

Rawashdeh confirmed the network’s capacity to handle the increased power demand, through implementing suitable operational plans, and regularly coordinating with electricity generation and distribution companies.

The Electricity Distribution Company (EDCO) said that its personnel are ready to deal with the forecast weather conditions in a way that ensures the sustainability of power. 

It called on the public within its areas in Aqaba, Maan, Tafileh, Karak and the Jordan Valley to report any power cuts on the free number 080022288 or through calling 065001370, according to Petra.

In a statement sent to The Jordan Times on Wednesday, Chairman of the Jordan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Bassam Sarhan said that since the beginning of the year, the commission has directed telecommunication network operators, to further enhance telecommunication sites with alternative electricity sources such as power generators and batteries, to ensure uninterrupted communication services. 

He added that the TRC has checked on the readiness of telecommunication companies’ operating rooms and technical teams, which deal with communication networks disruptions.

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