Violent storms unleash hordes of venomous scorpions in Egypt

More than 500 people were hospitalized after powerful thunderstorms drove scorpions from their burrows and into residential houses in the city of Aswan.

The storms caused damage across the region primarily due to flooding, but the most notable impact came when the pouring rain drove the poisonous scorpions out of their burrows and into homes. According to reports, the scorpions went on a stinging spree, which resulted in more than 500 people being sent to hospitals for treatment.

Local news outlets in Egypt reported three deaths, but none were blamed on the scorpions, The Associated Press reported, citing Egypt’s Acting Health Minister Khalid Abdel-Ghafar. Those who were stung were treated with anti-venom doses and eventually discharged.


Health officials have even had to call in doctors who were on vacation to help treat the influx of patients, according to NPR.

The city of Aswan was badly impacted by severe thunderstorms on Friday night.

Northern Africa is home to the Egyptian fat-tailed scorpion, which is considered to be one of the most poisonous scorpions in the world, according to the Saint Louis Zoo.

Thunderstorms first struck the southern city of Aswan, located near the Nile River, around 11 p.m. local time Friday with strong wind gusts, torrential downpours and hail. Strong winds also produced blowing dust as the storms rolled through and reduced visibility to near zero.

While only 0.04 of an inch (about 1 mm) of rain was reported at the Aswan’s weather observation site, heavier rain likely fell in other parts of the city due to the isolated nature of these thunderstorms, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls.

sebastian usher @sebusher
#Egypt : Health official in Aswan has told BBC that the heavy thunder & hail storm there washed scorpions into the streets & people’s homes – causing 400 people to be stung – in the rains scorpions seek refuge anywhere they can… #أسوان #مِصر

Video taken during the storms captured their ferocity as footage showed vivid lightning and wind-swept, driving rain that soaked the ground.

The thunderstorms in Aswan flooded streets and also toppled trees and power lines which led to power outages, according to Egypt Independent. The city of Aswan spent the night in the dark after the storm knocked out a power supply station.

“Low pressure moving across Egypt late Friday and Friday night triggered the thunderstorms around Aswan. This low went on to also produce isolated thunderstorms in far northeastern Egypt, southern Israel and northwestern Saudi Arabia into southern Jordan this past weekend,” said Nicholls.

Due to the lack of weather systems tracking through the region and minimal amount of moisture, thunderstorms of this magnitude are very rare in this area, according to Nicholls.

The normal yearly rainfall for Aswan is only about 0.05 of an inch (1.4 mm).

Heavy rain can threaten Egypt once again from Tuesday night into Wednesday. Because of this, Major General Mohamed Al-Sharif, Governor of Alexandria, announced a state of emergency for the Governorate of Alexandria in order to better prepare resources for the expected rain, according to local media.

AccuWeather forecasters warn that showers and thunderstorms across northeastern Egypt can produce locally heavy rainfall that may lead to flooding in low-lying areas and render some roads impassable. The heaviest rain is expected to fall near the coast of northeast Egypt, with cities farther south, such as Cairo, staying largely dry.


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