Dangerous blizzards to hit Europe, US in next week

Forecasters are warning extreme winds ripped by powerful snowstorms from the Middle East could spread to western Europe and the United States over the next week.

Six people have died in southeast Turkey from blizzards that have dumped more than a foot of snow since Sunday. A Red Crescent official said 52 people have been injured since then.

The two-day snowstorm has already killed 16 people in Syria and collapsed roads and buildings in Lebanon.

“We are closely monitoring conditions across the region as strong winds from the Middle East move into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean over the next week,” said Todd Crawford, senior climatologist at Climate Central.

“As much warmth and moisture from that storm system travels north, strong mid-latitude winds will bring several days of strong cold air that will challenge recent warmth and set up the risk of record cold and flooding in the U.S. West.”

Heavy snowfall and strong winds have left parts of Syria under a blanket of snow. Syrians and Iraqi journalists have posted images on social media showing half a mile-long snowdrifts in Baghdad, where a statement from the government said nearly a foot and a half of snow had fallen.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled or delayed across the region. The heaviest snowfall in Lebanon was recorded in the mountain town of Wadi Khaled, where officials said up to 6 inches accumulated.

Flights were canceled in Baghdad, Brussels, Paris, Moscow and other European capitals. The Egyptian and Libyan airspaces were closed.

More than two inches of snow fell Monday morning in Kuwait City, forcing the cancellation of more than 60 flights. Roads were snow-packed and treacherous, and Kuwaiti officials said more than half of the country’s public school students are absent from classes due to heavy snowfall.

Authorities in Dubai are warning residents to be ready for freezing temperatures. Residents are urged to take extra care in case they are in need of urgent health care in case power to hospitals and medical equipment is out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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