The Jetstream blowing high above Egypt, from the southwest, arcs over the Levant and southern Caspian, Al Jazeera reports. You cannot always see these rivers of air, 5,000 metres above the ground.
This one can be seen by the vast amount of high cloud it has generated and some rather pretty skies as seen from the ground. When the jet stream starts to buckle, it generates deeper cloud and ultimately proper weather.
This has just happened and has brought rain from Sinai to Iran. At Ras Sedr, a dry town on the shores of the Gulf of Suez, 51mm of rain fell in 24 hours – the average for the whole of February is 2mm.
This sort of rate of rainfall brings flash-flooding down wadis in the Middle East and road flooding in towns and cities.
Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, suffered city flooding on Friday as 42mm of rain fell in 30 hours of continuous wet. The average expected in Baghdad in the month of February is 19mm.
The heaviest falls of rain underneath this Jetstream have been near the Iraq-Iran border where Khanaqin, Iraq, received its average for the month in 36 hours.
And Ilam, Iran recorded 104mm in 24hours ending on Saturday morning, over twice the average for the month. Rain of this persistence brings the temperature down and this was reflected in Baghdad where Friday’s maximum was a full 6C below Thursday’s, at 15C.
Conversely, south of all the action, over northern Saudi Arabia, the induced southerly wind brought a dust storm through Riyadh on Wednesday, as the temperature hit 34.5C.
This is 0.3C shy of February’s record and a full 12 degrees above average.
Qatar was similarly warm, 5 degrees above average on Wednesday, in a dusty atmosphere.
Manama, Bahrain’s capital, hit 30C on the same day, 9C above normal. These sorts of variations are unusual in the Arabian Peninsula.
As the Jetstream buckles and forms a deep u-shape which then drags across the skies of the Middle East, so another storm system will cross. Already winds have been recorded in Piraeus, southern Greece, in excess of 85km per hour (kp/h) as the storm system winds up.
Saturday will be an increasingly windy day for Lebanon and the Gaza strip. Sunday looks persistently windy throughout eastern Turkey and Cyprus, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and northern Saudi Arabia. Gales are possible in the Zagros Mountains of Iran.
As for rain, another 75mm is possible in Lebanon, northern Syria, northern Iraq and western Iran. Further flooding and generally miserable conditions are inevitable.
Snow is likely to be confined to the mountainous areas of eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, the Zagros and northwestern Iran.