Snow near Old City, Jerusalem_390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
After a false alarm only two weeks before, Jerusalemites enjoyed a Friday filled
with snow, many sledding down the hills of local parks and pelting each other
with snow balls.
Several centimeters of snow coated the ground on Friday
morning for the first time in four years, closing schools and causing Egged and
other bus operators to temporarily disband lines both within and to and from the
Families – young and old – flocked to the capital city from all
over the country to enjoy the rare wintry weather, building snowmen and gliding
down the slushy Sacher Park grass.
Snow also covered Hebron, Bethlehem
and continued to drop over the Golan Heights, where it has been falling since
Wednesday. Preceding Friday’s snow, the country had also been drenched in rain
from the North to the Negev all day Thursday.
In preparation for the
expected storm, the Jerusalem Municipality had conducted feasibility studies
regarding potential snowfall for the weekend, placing approximately 50 snow
plows, salt spreaders – filled with 40 tons of salt – and other equipment for
maintaining the city’s main arteries on call. The city also launched a system
for identifying freezing points and distributing salt on these primary
Staff from the capital’s Welfare Department and division of youth services also had organized information sessions on Thursday for the
homeless and disconnected youth, according to the municipality, alerting them
that an emergency center would operate 24 hours a day throughout the
Meanwhile, the municipality’s veterinary services was also put
on-call for any animal issues.
In mountains outside of Jerusalem, about
10 to 15 centimeters of snow accumulated in Gush Etzion on Friday, where all
schools were closed except for that of the Kedar settlement, according to a
spokeswoman for the region.
The Mount Hermon area remained closed on
Saturday due to the ongoing precipitation, according to the ski resort’s
website, which predicted clear conditions for skiing by
Forecasting gusty winds and scattered showers overnight from the
North to the Negev, the Israel Meteorological Service said that the rains should
subside by Sunday afternoon, accompanied by rising temperatures.
Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee)’s level as of Saturday morning was 212.20
centimeters below sea level. This was eight centimeters more than Friday morning
and 27 centimeters more than Tuesday morning, before the storm began, Water
Authority spokesman Uri Schor told The Jerusalem Post
While the increase is encouraging, the lake’s basin is still 3.4
meters below the upper red line. Collectively, the country’s three main water
sources – the Kinneret, the mountain aquifers and coastal aquifers – are missing
about 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters of water, due to the last seven years of
“It’s a wonderful year and we’re very happy about it, but in
order to fill Lake Kinneret we need two more winters like that in a row,” Schor
said. “We hope that we [will now have] at least seven good years.”