Major storm to sweep through parts of Middle East

Much of Iraq, Kuwait and northeastern Saudi Arabia could suffer significant disruption.

    A huge area of low pressure in the upper part of the atmosphere is sweeping across much of the eastern half of North Africa.

    It is bringing with it significantly cooler weather which extends from the coast of Libya and Egypt as far south as northern Chad and South Sudan.

    Sudan's capital of Khartoum is expected to see a drop in temperature from 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday to 27C (81F) on Friday.

    But the greatest effect of this weather system is expected to be felt further north and east as it continues to develop and it is already generating a deepening low-pressure system at the surface.

    Thunderstorms over central and northern Egypt are likely to become more widespread during Thursday afternoon and evening, with computer forecasts suggesting a peak risk over Cairo about 15:00 GMT.

    More than 25mm of rain could fall within a couple of hours and this is expected to cause severe flooding. Very strong, damaging winds are also expected.

    The strong winds will possibly intensify across northern Egypt overnight as the risk of thunderstorms sweeps across Israel, Jordan and northern parts of Saudi Arabia.

    With such strong winds, a huge amount of dust and sand is likely to be raised by the low-pressure system. Northern Egypt, including Cairo, can expect a drastic reduction in visibility during Friday morning. During Saturday, severe sandstorms are likely through central Iraq as the strong southerly winds blow dust from the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys.

    Much of Iraq, Kuwait and northeastern Saudi Arabia could suffer significant disruption. Air travellers should expect delays and cancellations across the region over the next two or three days.

    The system will weaken as it tracks across Iraq and Kuwait later on Saturday and by Sunday, for most of us, it should be settled back in the warm and sunny weather we expect in the Middle East at this time of the year.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News