Israelis on Saturday converged on the north to make the most of the snowfall from the country’s biggest snow storm in decades.
Parts of the Golan Heights and the Galilee received over a meter of snow as Israel’s heaviest winter storm in decades blew through.
Starting in the early hours of the morning, thousands flocked to the north of the country. Major traffic jams and congestion were reported at main junctions along the way to Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights. Police were deployed to the area to help direct traffic.
Some traveled north to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped scenery; others went to hit the slopes at Mount Hermon as its trails for skiing were opened for the first time this season. There was over six feet of snow at the top ski lift at Mount Hermon, and the site’s crew worked to clear two of the trails for visitors.
The lush Banias River and springs, which were overflowing with water from the recent rain and snow, were another popular destination. Also located at the foot of the Golan Heights, the Banias are one of the main sources of the Jordan River, which runs to the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s largest source of fresh water.
The relentless heavy rain that poured down on Israel since the weekend added 69 centimeters to the level of the Sea of Galilee, the Israel Water Authority said on Thursday.
Amir Givati, Director of Surface Water at the Hydrological Service of the Water Authority, told The Times of Israel that the rainstorm added an estimated 100 million cubic meters of water to the lake.
Givati said the lake would continue to rise as melting snow from the north fed into the reservoir. He estimated the Sea of Galilee would take in millions more tons of water, raising it by an additional dozens of centimeters.
Last month, the water level rose by its highest amount for a December since 1994.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.