Mideast storm forces Egypt's ports to close

Associated Press
A Palestinian woman passes keys to a person on the other side of a flooded road in the West Bank of Jenin, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Stormy weather, including high winds and heavy rainfall, lashed Israel and the Palestinian territories, downing power-lines and trees. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities have closed down several ports due to torrential rains, strong winds and low visibility that also disrupted Suez Canal operations over the past three days.

Egypt's official MENA news agency says Wednesday that ports of the northern Mediterranean city of Alexandria and Dakhila were shut down starting Sunday, while Nile Delta cities suffered power outages and fishing stopped in cities like Damietta, northeast of Cairo.

It says the number of ships crossing the Suez Canal decreased by half due to poor visibility.

A Suez Canal official however says Wednesday that operations have returned to normal. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

MENA also reported ten fishermen went missing after their boat capsized near Marsa Matrouh on the western coast.