Schools in Jerusalem open after short-lived dusting of snow

Hermon ski resort shuttered as 40 centimeters of snow falls overnight; flooding closes some roads in south

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A tractor clears snow from a road as snow falls in the Old Katamon neighborhood in Jerusalem, on January 16, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A tractor clears snow from a road as snow falls in the Old Katamon neighborhood in Jerusalem, on January 16, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Schools in Jerusalem were open on Thursday, after the unseasonably cold weather brought a flurry of snow to the capital and other mountainous areas on Wednesday evening before quickly melting.

Authorities had been concerned that the predicted storm would leave Jerusalem blanketed with snow, disrupting traffic and shuttering schools. The storm, however, saw just a brief settling of snow that was quickly washed away by heavy rain.

The snowfall in Jerusalem was the first in several years, thanks to a system from Siberia dipping into the region.

In the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank, schools were opening at 10 a.m. as a result of the snowfall.

On the Golan Heights, the Hermon ski resort — the only one in the country — reported that some 40 centimeters (15 inches) of snow has fallen in the past 24 hours. The resort was to remain closed Thursday due to the inclement weather.

The stormy weather was expected to ease off slightly on Thursday, though strong winds and some rain were expected in the central and southern regions.

In Jerusalem, the temperature was expected to be around 9° C (48° F), with 16° C (60° F) in Tel Aviv and 14° C in Haifa (57° F)

Due to flooding on roads in southern Israel, Route 90 was blocked in both directions from Ein Gedi to the Dead Sea hotel area, and Route 35 was also closed in both directions near the Ha’okfim Junction on Thursday. Police asked drivers to find alternate routes.

People in the snow in central Jerusalem, on January 16, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israel Electric Corporation said demand on Wednesday evening broke a record with a peak demand of 13,058 megawatts. The IEC’s lightning center revealed that in the afternoon until 9 p.m. there were some 523 lightning strikes across the country. The average for January is 67 in a day, Hadashot news reported.

Downpours drenched many areas of the country with the heaviest rainfall recorded at Kibbutz Bar’am in the north of the country where some 52 millimeters fell throughout the day.

High winds caused some damage, Walla news reported. A pole fell on a car in Rosh Ha’ayin in the central region of the country and trees fell in the coastal city of Ashkelon, the report said.

The Water Authority said Thursday that in the past 24 hours the level of the Sea of Galilee rose by 6 centimeters (2.3 inches) and is currently at -213.90 below sea level.

Since the start of winter, the level in the country’s largest freshwater lake has risen 75 centimeters (25 inches) but it is still 5.10 meters (16 ft.) below its fullest level.

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