A long-predicted three-day winter storm has arrived in Israel, bringing gale force winds and an overnight snowfall that dropped six inches of the white stuff on the Golan Heights and the mountaintops in the Galilee. A little further south, so far about three inches have fallen.
School has been canceled for Wednesday in the Golan due to the weather. Police said major roads were closed to traffic due to the dangerous driving conditions.
The snow is expected to spread southward towards Jerusalem by Wednesday afternoon; snow will start falling in the central mountains, the capital and surrounding area. It is expected to continue throughout the night and into Thursday.
Families with children made plans for snowball fights, snow sculptures and in some more enterprising homes, “snow cones.” This is the first time in about five years that Jerusalem has had a snowstorm.
The public works department of the city has geared up with snowplows, salt for the roads and chains on the tires of all the municipal vehicles. That has also taken place in the Gush Etzion area of Judea, where snow is not unusual in winter.
During the day on Thursday, the snow will turn to rain, forecasters say, and in the north that could become freezing rain, extremely dangerous on the steep, curving roads up and down the mountains.
In accordance with the weather reports, Israel’s National Public Transportation Authority (in the Ministry of Transportation) has announced that municipal inner city public transportation in Jerusalem and Tzfat and intercity public transportation to and from those cities will cease operations in the early morning hours. Service will resume depending upon the weather, the amount of snow that has accumulated in the north, the mountains of central Israel and in Jerusalem.
In addition, due to the weather the Israel Railways announced the high-speed railway line to Jerusalem will continue to operate until 10:30 pm on Wednesday and will run two trains per hour in each direction.