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Israel braces for cold snap, possible snow in Jerusalem

After weeks of warm weather around the country, rainfall and plunging temperatures forecasted for later this week; capital could see rare snowstorm Wednesday-Thursday

Following a snowfall, a man jumps in the Old Katamon neighborhood in Jerusalem, on January 16, 2019. (Hadas Parush/ Flash90)
Following a snowfall, a man jumps in the Old Katamon neighborhood in Jerusalem, on January 16, 2019. (Hadas Parush/ Flash90)

After a period of unseasonably warm weather, Israel is expected to experience plunging temperatures and a wintry blast later this week.

Forecasts indicate Jerusalem could see a rare snowstorm overnight Wednesday-Thursday, though the chances of anything more than a dusting were seen as slim, as of Sunday.

Israel’s central mountainous region, including Jerusalem, gets snowfall every few years. In 2013, a major blizzard knocked out power in several neighborhoods after blanketing the city with up to 30 centimeters (one foot) of snow. That same storm socked higher elevations south of the city with up to 90 centimeters (three feet) of snow, in what was deemed a once-in-a-century event.

However, eastern Mediterranean weather is fickle, and predictions of winter wonderlands often do not pan out.

Unlike previous years, the prospective closure of schools in the capital over the weather is a non-issue, as the education system remains largely shut in Jerusalem, as part of the country’s third pandemic lockdown.

View of Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood on January 10, 2015, after a snowy day. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

According to forecasts, the weather — which stood at a sunny 20°C-21°C (68°F-70°F) in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Sunday — was expected to take a chilly turn on Tuesday night, when snowfall was expected on Mount Hermon in northern Israel.

Rains will begin in the north late Tuesday and gradually spread throughout the country, accompanied by fierce winds.

Overnight Wednesday-Thursday, temperatures in Jerusalem could dip below freezing and residents of the capital could wake up to snow.

The rains and cold weather will continue into the weekend nationwide.

After the country went through its wettest November since 1994, the weather has since been mostly sunny and unseasonably warm, with occasional rainstorms.

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