With Israel’s largest storm in 20 years bringing snow and freezing temperatures to Jerusalem and mountains in the north and center of Israel on Wednesday night, authorities closed part of Route 1, the main highway connecting Tel Aviv and the capital, for a short time due to ice that had accumulated in a mountain pass.
Route 443, which links the Gush Dan region with Jerusalem via Modiin, was temporarily shut down in both directions shortly after midnight, from the Maccabim-Reut junction to Mahane Ofer. The road was reopened at approximately 3 A.M. local time.
After days of breathless anticipation, snow began to fall in earnest in Jerusalem and the surrounding hills Wednesday night, coating cars and roads with a thin dusting of white.
For a while, traffic police closed Route 1 from Latrun to Sha’ar HaGai, the first major ascent into the Jerusalem Hills, in both directions, because of ice that had coated the road surface. Drivers were rerouted to alternative routes.
Ice also formed on Route 6 near the southern town of Kiryat Gat, and drivers were advised to reduce their speed and maintain caution.
School was called off for Thursday in the Golan Heights and elevated settlements in the West Bank. The Jerusalem municipality said it would make assessments early in the morning and decide whether school would take place in the city.
Elsewhere around the country, there was heavy flooding and widespread power outages.
North of the city, in the settlement of Psagot, Daniel Granovsky reported that snow already stood several centimeters high on the ground and covered the road leading to his trailer.
West of Jerusalem, in the quiet village of Givat Ye’arim, Laary Cemel reported a “wee snowfall” on the hilltop that barely managed to dust the car roofs.
After almost a week of inclement weather, snow was expected to fall throughout the night and into Thursday in Jerusalem and other hilly regions. The weekend is predicted to be sunny but chilly.
The Sea of Galilee, Israel’s main source of freshwater, rose six centimeters (2.4 inches) on Wednesday, and 60 centimeters (2 feet) since the storm began on Friday, Israel’s Water Authority said.
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