Cold front isn’t as bad as forecast

Although the Galilee and the northern Golan Heights experienced extremely cold temperatures, only a few centimeters of snow piled up.

January 27, 2016 04:48
2 minute read.
IDF clearing snow on Highway 35, January 26, 2016

IDF clearing snow on Highway 35, January 26, 2016. (photo credit: IDF)


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Despite the Israel Meteorological Service’s warnings about a significant storm, the wintry weather conditions on Tuesday left most Israelis cold but underwhelmed.

A Jerusalem snowstorm failed to materialize by Tuesday night, as the snowflakes quickly melted upon reaching the ground, according to Dr. Amos Porat, head of the IMS’s Climate Department. The IMS forecast, however, that snow would continue to fall as the nighttime low in the capital would dip to -2 degrees.

Still, most of the country went into winter mode as snow, sleet and rain hit cities across the country.

For the second consecutive day, the Israel Electric Corporation reported record-breaking winter electricity consumption, as temperatures dipped below freezing at higher elevations in the evening.

Schools remained open in most communities, but the Knesset canceled all of the day’s meetings in light of the expected inclement weather.

As a precautionary measure, police temporarily closed Route 443, one of the main highways connecting the capital and the coastal area, in both directions from the Shilat junction to Mahaneh Ofer, as well as Route 45 from the Atarot junction in the direction heading to Jerusalem, and the highway leading from Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha to Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim.

In Gush Etzion to the south, 3 cm. of snow managed to pile up. Since Friday, the Judean Hills received 50-80 mm. of rainfall, with some places getting 100 mm. of rain.

Although the Galilee and the northern Golan Heights experienced extremely cold temperatures, only a few centimeters of snow piled up.

The deepest accumulation was 5 cm., which was still enough for skiers to enjoy the slopes on Mount Hermon.

As for rain, the area has had from 15 to 35 mm. since Friday. Around Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), between 5 mm. and 15 mm. have come down.

Since the beginning of the winter season, rainfall in the North has totaled from 70 to 80 percent of the annual average, the IMS said.

As of Tuesday morning, Lake Kinneret’s water level stood at 212.82 meters below sea level, following a 1-cm. rise from the previous day and leaving the basin 4.02 meters from full capacity, the Water Authority said.

Most of the central and southern regions did not see snow at all but instead received plenty of rain, with the IMS reporting that the southern Coastal Plain has been awash in 70-120 mm. of rain since Friday. The northern Negev has received from 30 to 70 mm. of rainfall in that time. So far, the northern Negev has had rainfall that was 110-130 percent higher than the winter average.

The coldest place in the South was Mitzpe Ramon, where sleet arrived and temperatures dipped down to freezing along with wind speeds up to 50 kph.

Safed retained its title as the country’s coldest city, with a low of -3º at night to accompany by light snowfall.

Scattered showers graced Tel Aviv throughout the day, with the city reaching a high of 11º. Since Friday, parts of the central Coastal Plain have received between 20 and 50 mm. of rain. The amounts so far this winter in the area have been from 110-130% higher than those during the same period last year.

The Dead Sea was still the warmest place to be, with a high of 14º in Ein Gedi and a nighttime low of 9º. Eilat saw a similar 14º high but a slightly colder 7º low. •

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