Winter weather returned to Israel Wednesday night and Thursday, with blizzards closing sites in the north and floods shutting down roads in the central coastal regions.
Light snow also fell in the West Bank’s hilly areas north and south of Jerusalem.
The Hermon range on the Golan Heights — Israel’s only ski site — was closed to the public Thursday as the heavy snow continued to fall. At least 20 centimeters piled on the slopes overnight, the site management said.
Residents of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem and Beit El north of the capital had snow early Thursday, which melted as the rain continued. The Israel Meteorological Service said snow could fall in those areas until the afternoon, but the continuous rain would prevent it from piling up.
Around the country, heavy traffic jams were caused by the stormy weather, with highways in the coastal region being shut down because of floods. In the city of Netanya, firefighters rescued a number of people from cars stuck in deluged areas.
The heavy downpour added four centimeters of water to the Sea of Galilee over the past 24 hours, Israel’s water authority said.
In the wake of the large storm at the beginning of January and the latest downpour, a number of cities — including Ashdod, Kfar Saba and Haifa — already had more rainfall in 2013 than their annual average.