Let it snow! Jerusalem residents get ready for a winter wonderland

It is still unclear exactly how strong the snowfall will be in Jerusalem.

Jerusalemites revel in the snow (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalemites revel in the snow
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
While Jerusalemites may have gotten used to the unseasonable spring-like weather in recent weeks, meteorologists have predicted that winter weather will make a comeback on Tuesday evening. 
Rain is expected to pour over the holy city during the day, turning into a snowstorm by Wednesday night. With weather meant to be below freezing, the snow is expected to stick – at least for a day or two. 
The Jerusalem Municipality is completing preparations for the stormy weather, and said that if it snows, snowplows will be ready to clear roads. 
The municipality is also working to clean rainwater drainage systems. 
The Community and Welfare Administration is preparing to carry out patrols to locate and treat homeless people, to activate community emergency systems, and to operate welfare teams for the city’s residents. 
The effects of the 2015 snowstorm on the area surrounding Hadassah-University Medical Center, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. (Credit: HADASSAH SPOKESPERSON)The effects of the 2015 snowstorm on the area surrounding Hadassah-University Medical Center, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. (Credit: HADASSAH SPOKESPERSON)
The municipality recommends that residents check their heating systems, to make sure to seal roofs and openings, and to clear gutters and drainage systems. Residents should also secure loose objects and check electrical systems and prepare for outages.
Amid the freezing temperatures, residents should keep hot water dripping to prevent water from freezing in the pipes of solar water heaters. 
If it starts to snow, the Jerusalem Municipality’s emergency site will be activated and provide residents with regular updates. 
“We are doing our utmost to best evaluate the weather, in order to provide professional and quality service to the residents of the city,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. “I call on the residents of the city to observe the safety rules and follow instructions.” 
The municipality also announced on Tuesday, a few hours before snow was projected to fall in the city, that special education programs will end early — at 1 p.m. — on Wednesday.
All other schools in yellow and orange areas will remain open, while preschools will tentatively remain open, awaiting final confirmation.
Jerusalem received around 20 centimeters of snow in February 2015. Since then, there has been little to no snowfall in Israel’s capital, and many Jerusalem residents are hoping that this week will finally bring a significant snowfall after six years. 
“Honestly, with COVID-19, we’re hoping the municipality just leaves the snow so we can enjoy it,” Yehoshua Rubin, father of two, told The Jerusalem Post.
“Obviously it’s important that the streets are safe to drive on so people can get where they need to if they need to. But I never really expect snow since it is forecast almost every year and we rarely get any. But it would be really nice if it did, so we could wake up to the streets covered in snow, and I can show my son what snow is.” 
Even if it does snow, he said, his children will be a little disappointed that it doesn’t lead to the traditional “snow day” cancellation of studies, since most studying is over Zoom. 
“I’m not a fan of the snow, so I’m hoping it doesn’t happen,” said Jerusalemite Aliza Beshanky, even though her child feels the opposite: “My son saw snow when he was around two or three years old. He’s now 11 and a half, and he really hopes it will snow.” 
As far as the city is concerned, the snow can be a positive experience, particularly following the coronavirus lockdown, if the right preparations are made. 
“After weeks of lockdown, it will be fun for parents and children to get out and have fun in the snow,” said mother of four and Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum. “The city is making all the necessary preparations for this to be a positive experience for all. This is a great way to ease us all out of the lockdown and back into normalcy.” 
The deputy mayor promised that while roads will be cleared with snowplows, parks will be left more or less untouched.