Photo Credit: Jewish Press
A snowy Efrat on Wednesday evening, Feb. 17 2021

By late afternoon Wednesday, snow began to fall in Jerusalem and by Wednesday night it had reached Gush Etzion in Judea.

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Television news correspondents were nearly as excited about it as those they were describing in their reports, narrating as video clips swung through scenes of flakes falling across the city on to wet pavement and rain-spattered roads.

Snow is expected to continue falling until at least midnight in Jerusalem, with icy cold temperatures and the snow followed most likely by freezing rain.

There are numerous reports of trees being uprooted and branches breaking due to the strong winds – some of which are blowing at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour).

Senior Citizen Hurt by Falling Branch
With the extreme winds, the stormy conditions can be quite dangerous for older adults. The Magen David Adom emergency medical response hotline received a report a few minutes before 8 am Wednesday about a man in his eighties who was knocked down and hurt by a large tree branch that was torn off and hit him while he was out walking his dog in Tel Aviv.

“He was evacuated to Ichilov Hospital in the city with a broken leg and a head injury,” said MDA paramedic Moshe Danenberg.

“When we arrived on scene we saw a large tree branch that had fallen and underneath lay a man in his eighties, full conscious,” added Hanina Seidel, an MDA paramedic on a medic-motorbike. “Passersby helped take him out. He was wet and suffering injuries to his limbs and head.

“We put him in an intensive care unit, warmed him up and gave him the necessary medical care while evacuating him to the hospital, where his condition was listed as mild-moderate.”

Roads Are Dangerous: Stay Home, Stay Safe
Meanwhile heavy snow is continuing to fall in the north from the Golan Heights as far south as Gush Etzion in Judea. Snow is falling in Har Bracha (Mount Bracha) in Samaria as well as in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Efrat and elsewhere in Gush Etzion.

In the north, all entrances to the mystical northern city of Tzfat were blocked due to the snow, and the city banned vehicles from traveling on the roads due to the hazardous driving conditions.

In the Golan Heights, snow headquarters of the Golan Regional Council reported snow blocking the road north from Basset Junction and Ruby in all directions, and the Merom Golan; also all public transportation has ceased to operate until further notice.

“We recommend staying in homes and avoiding unnecessary travel,” said a statement issued by the Golan Heights Snow Headquarters. “It is possible that when you leave the road will be clear, but at a later time snow will pile up and there will be no plowing and therefore the road will be blocked.”

Samaria, Jerusalem ‘Ready for Anything’
Likewise, the Samaria Regional Council convened a special Zoom meeting with representatives from the IDF Home Front Command to discuss the weather situation.

“We are excited about the possibility of snow here in Samaria after years without snow,” said Council head Yossi Dagan. “We are prepared for any scenario in order to give the best response to our residents with the assistance of the relevant authorities.”

In Jerusalem, the municipality has geared up for “any scenario,” said Moti Azulai, in charge of the city’s transportation services.

“We will have 250 snow development vehicles throughout the city and dozens of tons of salt in warehouses waiting to be spread on the main routes. The residents of Jerusalem can be sure they will enjoy the snow.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.