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Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
In Jerusalem, Let it snow!
By MELANIE LIDMAN
01/09/2013
Capital prepares for winter wonderland as rest of country suffers flooding; Mayor Barkat offers temporary shelter for homeless.
 
As the rest of the country dealt with a deluge of rain that shut down major arteries and turned highways into raging rivers, Jerusalem prepared for the possibility of snow starting late Tuesday night and continuing Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat made his annual visit to the municipality sanitation headquarters in the Givat Shaul neighborhood in order to check up on the city’s readiness for clearing the roadways of snow. Approximately 100 vehicles, including tractors, are ready to clear the roads in case snow falls on the capital and surrounding regions.

Barkat warned that forecasts have the snow lasting all day Wednesday and into Thursday, and requested that residents avoid any non-essential travel and visitors wait to come to Jerusalem until the snow has stopped falling.

“Snow requires a lot of personal responsibility,” he said.

“We’re doing everything possible to allow us to enjoy the snow on the one hand, while dealing with the challenges of removing the snow on the other hand.”

Barkat said that the city had offered temporary shelter to all homeless people and the social services believed all homeless people in Jerusalem had been matched with some solution for the coming days.

The municipality, police, Transportation Ministry, firefighters and paramedics will all decide whether to declare a snow emergency in the capital on Wednesday. If they declare an emergency, it could temporarily stop up to 69 bus lines. The light rail, which was built to operate in the snow, will run without any changes.

The city decided Wednesday morning to open schools as per usual in the morning, but to send students home early at noon.

The capital has not experienced a substantial snowfall in the past four years. The mayor said he was “wishing, hoping and expecting snow, along with all of the children of Jerusalem,” adding that his favorite snow activity in Jerusalem is snowball fights with his family.
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