Snow covers the Kurdish town of Amedi during the winter of 2017. Photo: Nechirvan Hussein | Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A cold snap has swept across the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey and Iran, leading to plummeting temperatures, blocked roads, and school closures.
Fazil Ibrahim, the head of the Kurdistan Region’s Earthquake and Meteorological Department, told Rudaw that due to the drop in temperature, snow has shrouded many mountainous areas of the Kurdistan Region.
The highest level of snowfall, 16 centimeters, was recorded in the Kurdistan Region’s town of Haji Omaran which borders Iran followed by Shirwan Mazin (also in Erbil Province), Amedi, Akre and Simelan in Duhok province.
Concerning rain in the region’s wet season, Sulaimani has so far the highest accumulations through 2017.
Around 11.1 cm of rain has fallen in Sulaimani, 6.4 cm in Halabja. 5.4 cm in Erbil, 4.6 cm in Duhok and 1 cm in Kirkuk, he explained.
The cold wave has also hit many of the mountainous eastern or Iranian Kurdistan areas, particularly in Urmia, Kermanshah and Sanandaj.
There, some areas already have seen up to 50 centimeters of snow this season.
The province of Kermanshah was hardest hit by a devastating earthquake last month, so this year’s harsh cold has compounded their struggles in makeshift camps. They are calling on the government for assistance as the temperature continues to plummet.
And in southeastern Turkey, or North Kurdistan, heavy snowfalls and rains have blocked the roads of 618 villages, according to Ibrahim.
Snowfall has also shut down schools in many areas there, including in Badlis and its surrounding villages.
While treacherous and cumbersome, the snows of winter give way to the meltwaters of spring which sustain millions in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region through the dry and arid summer season.