With a wide grin on his face and cupped hands ready to begin a snowball fight,
the mayor of Jerusalem stooped down and hurled fistfuls of salt at a circle of
journalists, as the white crystals spurted out of a salt truck’s rear and into a
growing pile on the pavement.
Mayor Nir Barkat was visiting the Snow
Preparedness site at the Municipal Center in Givat Shaul on Thursday afternoon,
where he surveyed the emergency storm equipment – including salt trucks and snow
plows – that stood at the ready in case a blizzard hits the city this
After watching the salt truck in action, Barkat took the
driver’s seat of one of the 60 enormous yellow-tractor plows that are set to
swallow any snow that hits the city’s streets this weekend. The city has already
prepared 65 tons of salt for distribution across its many roads, according to
“The city is longing for a storm and for snow,” Barkat
told The Jerusalem Post. “The kids in Jerusalem love snow and pray and long for
snow, and the challenge is what can we do to convince the weather to have snow?
That’s the biggest challenge.”
In addition to the heavy downpours that
drenched Jerusalem on Thursday, rain fell from the country’s North to the
northern Negev, accompanied by snow over Mount Hermon, as well as strong winds
throughout the country.
By Thursday afternoon, winds reached speeds
between 20-45 kilometers per hour, according to the Israel Meteorological
Service. The IMS also warned that the Mediterranean had become a dangerous spot
for bathing, and posted flood watches for both the Jordan Valley and the Judean
The Kinneret stood at 212.83 meters below sea level as of
Thursday morning, now 17 centimeters above the bottom red line, the Water
For Friday, the IMS predicts rainfall in the North
with isolated thunderstorms and potentially snow, as well as particularly strong
winds and sand storms in the South. Afternoon rains are likely to become
increasingly strong and spread down to the northern Negev, causing flood risks,
according to meteorologists.
The upper parts of the Golan and the Galilee
are likely to begin receiving snow on Friday, and there is a chance of snowfall
in Jerusalem for both Saturday and Sunday morning, Dr. Amos Porat, of the IMS’s
Climatology Branch told the Post on Thursday afternoon.
Snow will be
followed by a rainy afternoon and fading winds, which should lead into a rainy
and unseasonably cold Sunday as well, according to the IMS.
conditions are not ideal for large amounts of snow,” Porat said, noting that the
precipitation for the capital city could be a combination of sleet and light
snow. “It is hard to tell if we will have heavy snow that will accumulate on the
Across the country, nonetheless, Israel Electric Corporation
workers are preparing for a “stormy” weekend – with strong wind, lightning, rain
and hail storms, which can cause damage to power wires. The IEC has therefore
requested that residents secure or remove objects that are likely to fly in the
wind and batter electrical wires, including roof-water boilers, flowerpots and
other types of containers.
It is crucial to avoid touching torn
electrical wires and instead dial *103, or call police, to inform the IEC of
such issues, a release from the corporation said.
confidence that Jerusalem was prepared to handle the infrastructural challenges
that a storm could pose.
“The city knows how to deal with such things –
we usually cut the trees before the winter,” he said. “But again, you have to be
very, very cautious. No storm is similar to the one before
It depends on the scope and size and the winds and the
ice... The public eyes are the best sensors we have.”
members of the public to call *106 immediately upon seeing something dangerous,
so that professionals can immediately come handle the situation.
officials emphasized that they will do everything possible to prevent power
failures and mitigate erratic power-supply issues that may affect customers this
weekend. However, officials warned, residents must take into account that the
predicted extremely high winds may prevent company teams from fixing all of the
problems, and that the return of regular supplies may be slow.
the Israel Nature and Parks Authority closed down all of its nature reserves,
national parks and tourist sites on Thursday, which will remain closed through
Monday. Officials warned that even after the sites are reopened, visitors must
be careful about their travels and avoid hiking around streams or slippery
Likewise, if snow does hit the hills of Jerusalem and the Golan
this weekend, Magen David Adom representatives have also said that they are
prepared to cope with accidents and give the public advice on staying
Local authorities have promised that if snow piles up, ambulances
will get high priority for getting through cleared roads.
MDA said that
its medical branch has refreshed the memories of medical teams on treating
frostbite and provided them with gloves, special warm suits and other equipment.
The Yad Sarah organization is also gearing up to help people in the case of
The wheelchair-bound, who need assistance in getting urgent medical
treatment, can order a Nechonit van with snow chains via its central number
*6444. In addition, patients needing kidney dialysis or cancer treatment can
also ask for transport if they cannot get to the hospital.
organization’s headquarters in Jerusalem works 24-hours a day, and its
department for lending out medical equipment is on special alert to help those
who cannot get out of their home and reach Yad Sarah branches.
temperatures go below zero, MDA advised the public to provide extra heating to
24 degrees, rather than the usual 21 degrees Celsius. Families should ensure
that their heating devices are safe and that they are only operated with adult
supervision, and should introduce moisture into into the air with wet towels or
humidifiers, according to the organization.
When going out in the snow,
wear several layers of protective clothing, and warm clothing, including socks,
at night – but do not use electric blankets and avoid overheating infants, MDA
The emergency medical group also urged residents to drive carefully
if they must go out, maintain a safe distance from other cars, refrain from
leaving children alone in closed vehicles and report all accidents to
“Naturally, if and when it snows, we have to open up the main
arteries – the main roads for public safety – but it’s important that people
take responsibility and don’t go out from their homes unless they have to,”
Barkat told the Post.
Despite the hopes of many of the city’s children,
the mayor said he doubted Sunday would end up being a “snow day,” closing
schools. However, he urged families to enjoy the potentially white
“We are finishing the final preparations, we’re listening to the
weather, and we’ll see,” Barkat said. “Have fun, and be very cautious with the