Egypt’s national carrier EgyptAir said 85 percent of flights were proceeding normally, adding in a statement Thursday afternoon that the bad weather has only caused “slight delays” for some domestic trips.
In Luxor, the international airport has been shut down due to “unclear visibility” and to ensure safe landing of flights, an official told Ahram Arabic news website. All flights have been rerouted to the airport of the Red Sea city of Hurghada.
On Wednesday, EgyptAir called on its clients who have flights in the coming 48 hours to arrive at airports at least four hours prior to their international flights and three hours early for domestic flights, a statement by the Egyptian carrier said.
Thunder and lightning started to hit the capital, Cairo, since the early hours of Thursday along with heavy rains, strong winds and heavy fog that lowered visibility levels.
The health ministry said it had stepped up its action plan in preparation for the bad weather, increasing the number of ambulances on main roads and sending rapid deployment teams across all governorates. TV footage showed vacuum trucks draining rain water from the streets of Cairo and Giza.
Power outages were reported in several parts of Cairo and Giza in the early afternoon.
At least two people died in Egypt Thursday as a result of "severely unstable” weather conditions that have prompted authorities to declare a nationwide day off.
A 35-year-old man died Thursday morning after a wall collapsed in Upper Egypt’s Sohag governorate due to bad weather, according to the website of state television.
In Qena, also in Upper Egypt, a seven-year-old child was killed and five others injured when two buildings collapsed in northern Karnak village. A mosque also collapsed in Qena's Nag Hammadi region, causing no casualties.
Authorities closed off three major highways connecting Qena with the Upper Egyptian governorates of Luxor, Sohag, and the Red Sea.
Cities around the country witnessed heavy and moderate rainfall Thursday, with meteorologists warning of more rain through the day.
Egypt suspended schools and banks and declared the day off for employees of the country’s public and private sectors.
Authorities warned Thursday will see the peak of the rainfall during this stint of unstable weather that is expected to run into next week. The governorates of Giza, Minya, Marsa Matrouh and New Valley will see the heaviest rain, the cabinet said Wednesday.
The wave of unstable weather is set to recede gradually as of Saturday.
In Upper Egypt, heavy rain accompanied by dusty winds started Wednesday night and continued Thursday morning.
In the coastal city of Alexandria, major streets and squares appeared to be almost empty of pedestrians and vehicles due to heavy rains which started at dawn.