Storm Elpis: Snow falls in Jerusalem, schools open despite strike

The Jerusalem Municipality advised all Jerusalem residents to stay indoors on Wednesday evening and to avoid going out for non-essential purposes.

Snow falls in Jerusalem, 1/26/2022

Jerusalem was covered in a blanket of white Thursday morning with schools cancelled after winter storm Elpis brought piles of snow to northern Israel and Jerusalem on Wednesday evening.

Elpis started with heavy rain in the North and coastal areas. Snow fell throughout the day in Mount Hermon and the northern Golan Heights and gradually moved South in the afternoon in the mountains of northern and central Israel, including in Safed and Jerusalem.

A fire broke out in an apartment building in Safed due to lightning striking a power box.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion decided to cancel school for all students in Jerusalem on Thursday and advised all residents to stay indoors on Wednesday evening and to avoid going out for nonessential purposes. The Mediterranean Coastal Cliffs Preservation Government Company Ltd. announced that the stormy weather creates a fear of rockfalls in the coastal cliff strip. The company recommends that the general public exercise caution and avoid being in dangerous proximity to cliffs due to the expected danger.

 Snow falls in Jerusalem as a heavy storm hits nationwide, January 26, 2022.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Snow falls in Jerusalem as a heavy storm hits nationwide, January 26, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

"The impending storm endangers the stability of the cliff as a result of strong winds and high waves. The intensity of the storm could cause parts of the cliff to collapse and endanger the public in the area," Ilan Lavi, the company's CEO, said. 

The snowfall is expected to weaken by Thursday morning and will slowly turn back into rain in most locations. It is still expected to lightly snow in Jerusalem in the early morning hours. Rain showers will continue on Thursday and Friday, with temperatures remaining unseasonably cold in much of the country.

Due to Elpis, the Kinneret Cities Association ordered the closure of all beaches due to accompanying winds of about 60-70 km per hour and heavy rain, Maariv reported.

According to the local Yerushamayim weather site, the potential for snowfall on Wednesday is higher than in the storm last week, when light snowfall was recorded in parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank. The system may be similar to the snowstorm which caused centimeters of accumulation in February of last year, although it is still unclear as things could change by Wednesday.

Elpis is the fifth named storm in the Eastern Mediterranean Group of EUMETNET, which includes the meteorological services of Israel, Greece and Cyprus. A number of Hebrew names are featured in the list of names for the 2021/2022 season including Carmel, Irit, Joel, Lavi, Ora and Raphael.

 Snow falls in Jerusalem as a heavy storm hits nationwide, January 26, 2022 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Snow falls in Jerusalem as a heavy storm hits nationwide, January 26, 2022 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Elpis has already hit Greece and Turkey, covering towns and beaches with snowfall. Photos shared by the Greek City Times website showed the island of Tinos coated in snow.

At around 12 noon, all major roads leading to the city of Jerusalem, as well as main roads that were closed within the city due to the snow piling on them, were opened to full traffic, according to a police spokesperson.