The wind was already howling in the Negev by 12 noon on Sunday. Operators at the Mount Hermon ski resort had closed to access road to the site by midday, with a few inches of snow already dusting the landscape.
But that was just for starters. Forecasters are predicting a three-day storm to hit the region, with up to 80-kilometer (50 mph) winds starting Sunday night.
It almost seemed as though, having worn out its “whiteout weekend welcome” on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, the blizzard had decided to cross the Pond and visit Jewish cousins in the Middle East.
In Jerusalem, city service workers pruned trees quickly to prevent branches from snapping and tearing down power lines.
Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Infrastructure, Energy and Water ordered the Israel Electric Company to avoid disconnecting customers during the storm whose bills were in arrears.
In Tzefat, Ziv Medical Center prepared its emergency room personnel for a possible influx of arrivals with hypothermia.
Snow is forecast as far south as Hebron and the south Hebron Hills, with possible snow fall in the mountainous regions of the Negev – and as far north as the Golan Heights.
Thunderstorms, high winds, some hail and freezing temperatures were forecast for the northern Negev and the central region of the country.
Temperatures will be slightly higher in Tel Aviv, with some rain and wind. Further south, the winds will weaken but the possibility of flash flooding still remains in the forecast at least through Tuesday.
Since Monday is the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat – the holiday of the blossoming the trees – it is ironic and yet wonderful that such an abundance of nurturing moisture should drop on the Holy Land precisely at this time.Hana Levi Julian