Although it was a day after the rest of the high altitude areas of the country were hit with a major snowstorm, residents of Jerusalem and its environs finally experienced the white stuff on Wednesday night.
Snow falling in Jerusalem Wednesday February 17 2021/ Josh Aronson
Snow began falling in the early hours of the evening and by 8 p.m. had started accumulating.
The Transportation Ministry blocked Route 1 from the Sha’ar Hagai junction until the entrance to the city in both directions – until further notice – due to the weather conditions. In addition, several other roads have been closed around the city and in the surrounding mountains.
In addition, the Jerusalem Municipality announced on Wednesday evening that it would cease the operations of the city’s light rail and bus lines until further notice due to the extreme weather.
Intense winds were felt throughout the country with gusts up to 100 kph, and even higher in some places, according to Maariv, The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication.
Jerusalemites who are excited about the rare opportunity to build snowmen and create snow angels have organized a snowball fight Facebook event in Gan Sacher. Jerusalem is preparing for up to 10 cm. of snow.
Snow in Jerusalem! Daughter so excited! pic.twitter.com/tAy7xx9yWf— Gil Hoffman (@Gil_Hoffman) February 17, 2021
In the North, all roads have been closed until further notice in the Golan Heights, and police issued a call to the public not to attempt to travel to the area due to treacherous conditions.
In addition, several roads in southern Tel Aviv flooded, and police are currently helping direct traffic.
A sidewalk outside a residential building collapsed into a sinkhole on Keren Hayesod Street in Safed on Wednesday afternoon, Ynet reported.
Firefighters were quick to arrive on the scene and began clearing citizens away from the area. A civil engineer who was called to the scene ordered that all of the building’s residents be evacuated.
Over the course of the night, the Kinneret’s water levels rose by 1.5 cm., Ynet reported, citing an announcement from the Water Authority.
The Transportation Ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday evening that all naval ports in the country have been closed until further notice, allowing only rescue teams to remain operative.
As for the South, sandstorms may occur, and it may even snow lightly in the Negev at noon, Maariv reported. Light snow is expected in Mitzpe Ramon, in addition to flooding in the streams of the Judean Desert and Dead Sea region. The rain, flooding, cold weather and harsh winds in the latter areas are likely to continue into Thursday.
The Nature and Parks Authority announced that Nahal Arugot in the Ein Gedi Reserve is closed to hikers due to the weather, according to Ynet. The Nahal David route is partially open only up to the first waterfall and the old synagogue.
The Health Ministry issued a warning to the public against bathing on all beaches on Wednesday due to fears of sewer runoff into the sea, as well as the already heightened risk of hypothermia.
Following heavy rains in the Gush Dan area, rainwater has merged with sewage water in Tel Aviv, and has made its way into the sea.
On Friday, the rain is likely to intensify throughout the country. Maariv also reported that there will still be a risk of flooding in the Dead Sea and Judean Desert streams over the weekend, and it will continue to be colder than usual. In the evening, the rain is expected to decrease.
On Saturday, light local rains are still expected in the North and Center of the country, and there will be a slight increase in temperatures, but they will still be lower than normal, according to Maariv.
The atypical weather is reminiscent of Israel’s “snowstorm of the decade” in December 2013. At the height of the storm, Jerusalem saw 20 cm. of snow. It was the biggest snowfall in Jerusalem since 1992.Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.