After rainy weekend, Israel braces for first winter storm of 2015

Rain was expected to strengthen Saturday with snow forecast on Mount Hermon.

Stormy weather at Jaffa coast, January 2, 2014 (photo credit: NATHAN WISE)
Stormy weather at Jaffa coast, January 2, 2014
(photo credit: NATHAN WISE)
As rain poured down over much of Israel on Saturday, the country braced for a much stronger storm and possible snowfall later in the week.
On Thursday evening, the Israel Meteorological Service issued an early warning about the possibility of increasingly stormy weather.
Toward the middle of the week, the region is likely to experience significantly wintry weather, including rain, floods, low temperatures, strong winds, and snow in mountainous areas, the IMS said.
Models obtained by the IMS forecasting center indicated that on Tuesday, strong winds and large amounts of precipitation are expected in the North. Snow will likely begin in the high peaks of the Galilee and the Golan Heights, already reaching the lower peaks of the Upper Galilee by evening – including Safed and other towns in the region, the IMS said.
High tides are expected in the Mediterranean on Tuesday, with waves reaching a crest of about four meters.
On Wednesday, the storm is expected to worsen, with snow powdering mountain peaks and piling up on the ground in the center of the country, including Jerusalem, the IMS said. Waves are also expected to remain high that day. By Thursday, the models predict mainly rain throughout the country, but continued snow and bitter cold in the mountains.
January’s weather follows a December “marked by a lack of rain and warmer than average,” according to information compiled by IMS climate department head, Dr.
Amos Porat. While the dryness was not record-breaking, the rain amounts in December were significantly smaller than yearly averages for the month, and the driest since 1993.
“Thanks to the rainy November, the rain amounts since the beginning of the season are average for the same period on the Coastal Plain and the hills of the Center,” Porat wrote.
“In other areas cumulative rainfall quantities are close to the average or slightly below it.”