A major winter storm was heading toward Israel as heavy downpours were expected as of Tuesday morning, starting up north and spreading to the northern Negev. Meanwhile, snow began falling on Mount Hermon mid-morning. According to the most recent forecast, snow may pile up on the ground in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning after the temperatures take a downward turn. The storm is expected to die down by Thursday. Mayor Uri Lupolianski has ordered municipal teams to keep over 500 kilometers of emergency routes clear to allow emergency and rescue vehicles to move freely when needed. Also, the municipal teams will locate areas that are prone to freezing and will lay salt on the main roads. The municipal hotline, 106, will be beefed up. The welfare department was also preparing in advance to assist the residents of Jerusalem, especially the elderly and people with special needs. To prevent water from freezing and pipes from bursting, the municipality recommended Monday that when the temperatures drop, the public leave a warm water tap dripping. Jerusalemites are also advised to check their heating systems, especially those that require ventilation. Make sure roofs and other openings, such as doors and windows, are properly sealed, and that the drains are open, the municipality urged. Tree branches in private gardens that are near power cables should be cut down, and residents should check on the safety of their electrical system. The municipality urged residents to have emergency lighting handy, as well as to fasten antennas, water tanks, and other rooftop objects. Objects that aren't fastened and might fall from a high place or get blown over, for example - flower pots, patio furniture and signs, should be removed. The municipality said the public should avoid staying under pavilions, pergolas, shacks or temporary structures for fear they might collapse.