The Golan Heights, Mount Meron and Safed were covered in white this weekend as Israelis flocked to the northern part of the country to witness the heavy snowfall. But snow was generally a no-show in rainy Jerusalem, where white flakes failed to accumulate despite predictions of a winter wonderland in the capital.
Sunday will still be cold, according to meteorologists, but the rain will peter out toward evening, and the mercury will rise in the coming days.
In the Upper Galilee Birya Forest near Safed, predictions of snow in the north were fulfilled Saturday. Mount Canaan in Safed, Mount Meron and other Upper Galilee peaks were blanketed in snow on Saturday, as was the northern Golan Heights, where snow has become a familiar guest this winter.
Police blocked off several roads in the Golan on Saturday morning after snow began to fall at 7 A.M. at Kibbutz Merom Golan, 1,000 meters above sea level, accumulating about five centimeters. At Mount Odem at the foot of Mount Hermon, residents said about 10 centimeters accumulated.
Visitors to the region were treated to a view of abundantly flowing streams cascading from the Golan at the Sa'ar and Ayit waterfalls. The Jordan River overflowed its banks at Yesud Hama'ala, flooding some of the nearby orchards. Police had to assist several drivers who had come to see the snow on Mount Meron and who ended up getting stuck.
According to Meteo-Tech weather service, the Galilee and the Golan saw 90-130 millimeters of rain. The central mountains received 50-80 millimeters, and Jerusalem got 77 millimeters. The Negev city of Arad saw 35 millimeters of rain.
Only 25 millimeters of rain fell in Tel Aviv, and 50 in Haifa. Meteorologists say this is because strong winds, which reached 100 kilometers an hour, blew the rain clouds quickly away from the coast to the mountains.
Snow continued to fall in the Golan Heights Saturday evening, leading to the decision to close Merom Golan's Avital school on Sunday. School buses will not depart from northern Golan communities this morning, and public buses will not operate until 9 A.M., say officials.
Shefi Mor, director of tourism for Kibbutz Merom Golan, said the region's bed and breakfast accommodations were fuller than usual. Mor said families who had arrived before the snowfall did not want to leave, both because they were enjoying the snow and because they feared navigating the roads. The kibbutz was working to find alternative accommodations for the families who were supposed to receive rooms that were not vacated on time.
At Safed, the city's snowplows cleared the main arteries and the road to Rebecca Sieff Hospital. The head of the emergency ward at Sieff, Dr. Amar Hussein, said the department had stocked up on warm liquids and blankets in preparation for treating hypothermia, but noted that no such treatments were needed.
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