Egypt reopens Alexandria and Dekheila ports after closure for bad weather

ALEXANDRIA (Reuters) - Egypt reopened its Alexandria and Dekheila ports on the Mediterranean coast on Friday after they were shut because of weather earlier in the day, the Alexandria Port Authority said.

The ports of Alexandria and Dekheila are among the biggest in Egypt and can each handle a maximum of 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The decision to close the ports was made because of “high waves and wind speeds that do not allow the movement of boats”, said port authority spokesman Reda Ghandour.

They were reopened after weather conditions improved and wind speed, wave height and visibility returned to normal levels, Ghandour was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA.

The head of the Alexandria Port Authority, Major General Medhat Attia, told “all administrations to exercise caution and adhere to the requirements of occupational safety and health in order to preserve lives and property” MENA reported.

Loading and unloading operations for ships already docked had continued as normal after the closures, Ghandour said earlier.

The governor of Alexandria ordered schools in the governorate to close on Saturday because of heavy rain.

The U.K. Met Office said on its Twitter account on Friday that it was monitoring a cluster of thunderstorms as a possible “medicane” - a system with tropical and non-tropical characteristics - developing in the eastern Mediterranean.

It posted a visual showing the thunderstorms on a map of the eastern Mediterranean and said that such a system developing is “incredibly rare this far east in the Mediterranean”.

Reporting by Ahmed Salem in Alexandria and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Frances Kerry and David Goodman