Israelis flocked to Jerusalem on Friday and Saturday to see their capital city covered in white and to frolic in the snow, before it melted by the end of Shabbat.

In addition to blanketing Jerusalem on Thursday night and Friday, snow also fell on the mountains of the North and the Negev at abnormally low altitudes, the Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) said in a storm-summary report. The forecasters added that many parts of the country have already exceeded the seasonal total average rainfall.

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“In Jerusalem, this is the third consecutive winter with a significant snow event – snow with a depth of 10 to 15 centimeters and above,” a statement from the IMS said. “The last time such a thing occurred was in the late 1940s.”


While residents of Jerusalem and other snowy cities were able to enjoy their rare white weather, police and rescue personnel continued to search for a man last seen Friday morning and whose life is believed to be in danger.

Shai Yaakov Noam, 31, from Rehovot, left home at 5:30 a.m. Friday, headed south toward Eilat; he was last seen on Highway 90 near Ein Gedi.

Nir Vanger, a member of the local rescue team, told Channel 2 Noam’s car was found at the entrance to the Arugot River Nature Reserve on Saturday. Noam is not believed to be a hiker or “storm chaser” who went out to see the flooding and lost his way, but probably was simply trying to pass through the area when something went wrong, Vanger said.


So far, the search efforts have included police, military helicopters, IDF K9 units, volunteers, and members of Noam’s family.

Police from the Southern District on Saturday decided to expand the search to the Rehovot and Jerusalem area, though hours later, no trace of Noam had been found.

The Israel Police reported no major storm-related incidents in Jerusalem. Both major highways leading to the capital were periodically closed on Friday based on storm conditions, but were fully operational as of Saturday. Public transportation in the capital remained in full service up to Shabbat and resumed operations Saturday evening.

Snow began to fall in the northern mountains on Thursday afternoon and in the central mountains, including Jerusalem, that evening, continuing into the next day, the IMS said. Particularly significant amounts of snow fell in areas located at 500 meters altitude and above, while also reaching lower points like the Lower Galilee and the Hula Valley.

The last time snow fell at such low altitudes was in 1950, the IMS said.

Areas in the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights received between 15 and 25 centimeters of snow, according to the IMS. Jerusalem received from 20 to 25 centimeters, while areas in Gush Etzion had about 30 centimeters.

In the Lower Galilee and certain areas of the Negev – such as Mitzpe Ramon, Arad and Dimona – about five to 10 centimeters of snow accumulated, the IMS said.

Beersheba, however, received just a light dusting.

As for rain, the largest amount of rainfall during this storm system fell in the central mountains, with 134 millimeters falling at the Tzur Hadassah measurement station, about 12 kilometers west of Jerusalem in the Judean Hills. The average rainfall for the central mountains was between 80 and 110 millimeters, while the southern coastal area and northwest Negev received between 60 and 80 millimeters, according to the IMS.

In the central and eastern Negev, between 30 and 50 millimeters fell, while the Dead Sea area received 20 to 30 millimeters, the IMS reported. The northern part of the country and the coastal plain received between 30 and 60 millimeters, while just three to 10 millimeters fell in the Arava and southern Negev deserts.

Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) rose of a hefty 11 centimeters during the stormy weather of the past few days, reaching 212.25 meters below sea level by Saturday.

From Friday to Saturday alone, the basin’s water level increased three centimeters, the Water Authority said. Thus far this season, the reservoir has risen 62 centimeters, but remains 85 centimeters above the bottom red line. The Kinneret’s water level is 3.45 meters below full, according to the Water Authority.

The southern coastal plain, the Judean Hills and northern Negev all have received between 110 to 140 percent of their seasonal averages while the Galilee and Golan Heights have accumulated 85% to 95% of their seasonal averages thus far, the IMS said.


(Snow in Jerusalem by the Western Wall. Credit: Seth Frantzman)


(Deer frolicks in Samaria. Credit: Yehezkel Blumenstien)

(Snow covered palm trees in Jerusalem near the old city. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Snow in Negev desert, Dimona


(Snow in Jerusalem. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


(Snow in Jerusalem. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalem of snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalem of snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalem of snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(A view of the Old City of Jerusalem. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)



(Jerusalemites revel in the snow. Credit: Marc Israel Sellem)