Golan Heights snow - Yaron Kaminsky - January 2012
The Golan Height’s Deer Forest was blanketed in snow yesterday. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
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Thousands of tourists flocked to the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights over the weekend to enjoy the snowy scenes and wintry conditions.

The snow that began falling in the northern Golan Heights Friday morning blanketed the area in white. The ski area on Mount Hermon was closed to visitors due to heavy fog, but is expected to open today to skiers and non-skiers. The lower part of the mountain has about one meter of fresh snow, with about 1.5 meters on the higher slopes.

"The winter is a blessing not only for farmers but also for tourism operators," said Meir Levy, chair of the Upper Galilee Tourism Forum and director of the Gonen resort village. He said many visitors headed north for the weekend to see the snow and rain-swelled streams and rivers in the region. Gonen was at 90-percent occupancy for the weekend, Levy said, and colleagues throughout the area reported similar occupancy rates.

The weekend snowstorm disrupted travel in the Golan, snarling roads from Ein Zivan northward for a number of hours until military and civilian snowplows cleared the roads. The road up to Mount Hermon remained closed over the weekend, frustrating the plans of day-trippers hoping to see the snowy slopes and leading to traffic jams that were compounded by the fog.

While precipitation is expected to ease off today and temperatures to rise slightly, the rain is expected to resume tomorrow night, with possible rain on Mount Hermon on Tuesday.