File Photo: Floods caused by heavy rains in one of Egypt's coastal cities (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Several roads connecting areas along the Egyptian Red Sea coast with areas in Upper Egypt were closed after torrential rains hit southern parts of the Red Sea governorate, which is known for its mountainous terrain.
Some damage occurred with no deaths reported in Safaga town, south of Hurghada, one of the main tourist attractions in the country.
Red Sea towns raise their state of preparedness every year to face risks posed by heavy rains, but this year torrential rains started around a month earlier than is usual.
As a result of heavy rains on Safaga-Sohag road (one of the four closed roads over heavy rains), an emergency committee was formed to check on roads and support people of El-Nasr village in Safaga, Hoda El-Maghrabi, head of Safaga town, said.
Maghrabi added that emergency teams and equipment at main squares of the town are ready to deal with heavy rains.
Although many people in desert areas find torrential rains every year useful, as they can collect them in wells, dams and barriers to use in agriculture and for drinking over the course of the year, they can be deadly.
In October 2016, torrential rains hit parts of southern and western Egypt, causing the death of 26 people, according to the health ministry, mainly in the Red Sea governorate and South Sinai. Some 35 others were injured.
The Egyptian Centre for Planning and Architectural Studies states many factors influence torrential rains in Egypt, including different types of terrain. Heavy rains come annually in the Red Sea governorate as well as Sinai in northeastern Egypt where the height of mountain ranges exceed 2,000 metres (6,562 feet).
A main factor is also the seasonal Sudanese low pressure area that extends over the Red Sea, Sinai and sometimes the East Mediterranean region, bringing hot air from Sudan to these areas. This hot air becomes saturated with water vapour while moving from south to north. In the case this hot and humid air confronts cold and dry air coming from central and northern Europe, instability occurs and thunderstorm clouds are formed, which cause heavy rains.