The U.S. Embassy has jumped on this week’s snow wagon and has issued an unusual travel warning that the predicted storm could duplicate last year’s “closure of major roadways, stranded and isolated motorists, and difficult/perilous travel conditions.”
The Embassy usually warns Americans in Israel against Arab riots and terrorist attacks, but this time took the meteorological route to warn against travel, and it suggested that people “consider deferring any non-essential travel to impacted areas.”
It added, “Even a small amount of snow accumulation can result in road closures and perilous driving conditions, especially in elevated areas.
“If you are required to travel under these conditions, ensure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel. Pack warm winter clothing, boots, water, shovel, and emergency food supplies in the event you are stranded.”
The panic is justifiable.
Amateur weather buffs, who often – but not always – are more accurate than Israel’s official weather bureau, predict that up to 2 feet of snow will fall in Tzfat (Safed) and other high altitude areas by mid-week.
Snow will fall in Jerusalem, but it is too early to predict how much.
Most importantly, there will be huge amounts of rain that will help restore Israel’s depleted water reservoirs, including the Kinneret as well as the underground aquifers.
Up to 6 inches of rain may fall, particularly along the coast and in the north.
The snow may fall in areas as low as 500 feet high, which would include Nazareth and some areas in the northern Negev.
Hail, thunderstorms and very high winds are expected when the storm smacks around Wednesday, although some weather models indicate it might hit Israel Tuesday night.
Heavy rain fell in the north and in Jerusalem on the Sabbath and is expected to continue into the night, possible as far as south as the northern Negev.
Snow fell on the lower slopes of the Hermon.
Rain will taper off a bit by Sunday afternoon.
Local rains are expected on Monday, with slightly higher temperatures, but this is just to fool everyone that it is all over.
On Monday evening and Tuesday morning, heavy winds, with little precipitation will preview the big storm, which will begin to dump on the north in the afternoon.
The precipitation will take an afternoon break and return in full force during the night, when snow will spread from the Hermon to the northern Golan Heights and Upper Galilee, meaning Safed.
Snow, rain and hail will continue on Wednesday, especially in the north and along the coast, and will spread inward and south in the afternoon. Temperatures will drop like a rock.
On Thursday, most of the country will be wet, if not white.
Low-lying areas will be flooded, and there will be flash floods in the Dead Sea and Arava areas.
After it is all over, the temperatures will drop even more, resulting in icy conditions on the roads.
Take into account that forecasting the weather, especially snow, in Israel is tricky, but this time around, all opinions are that it is going to a wicked weather week.
And remember, we are asking God every day for winds and rain, so don’t complain.
We need the water.