Israel readies for first winter storm
Tourism industry looking forward to the expected storm, predicted to hit the north on Wednesday or Thursday.
Local authorities in the Galilee and Golan Heights say they are making all necessary preparations for the mountaintop snowstorms predicted to hit northern Israel on Wednesday or Thursday.
“A snow plow has already been placed at Merom Golan and a duty roster prepared to assist cars that get stuck,” said Shefi Mor, in charge of tourism at Kibbutz Merom Golan in the northern Golan Heights.
Mor added that the area was looking forward to the rain and snow filling up the region’s water reservoirs, in addition to the tourism that would come to see the region blanketed in white.
An official for the Safed municipality said the city council will be placing teams on emergency footing, beginning Wednesday, and that the Galilee city’s hotline will have additional operators on duty.
The municipality will be assisted by the Israel National Roads Company and the Israel Defense Forces if treacherous routes need to be plowed and cleared of snow.
The municipality's director general has also instructed the welfare department and volunteer groups to prepare ahead of time to assist the needy, people with disabilities and the elderly with shelter, heating and blankets.
The municipality asked residents to make sure roofs and windows are properly sealed, that solar heating units are soundly attached to roofs, to move planters and other obstacles that could fall, leave water taps running slightly to avoid freezing, and to be careful with space heaters.
Dr. Hussein Amar, director of the emergency room at the city's Rebecca Sieff Hospital, warned that “such weather increases the risk of road accidents because of loss of control over the car, so drivers should be extra cautious.”
The tourism industry in the north is looking forward to the expected storm. Meir Levi, chairman of the rural tourism forum of the Upper Galilee, said that following reports of the expected stormy weather and snow, demand for bed-and-breakfast accommodations and hotel rooms actually rose. “There are storm chasers who come for vacations when the weather is stormy, to feel the power of nature,” he said.