Israel will get its first snowfall of the season this week, peaking on Wednesday afternoon with heavy snow in hilly areas from the north to Jerusalem, the Israel Meteorological Service forecast Sunday.
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The snow will taper off on Thursday, but the bitter cold will remain through the weekend.
Monday morning will bring scattered showers, mainly in the north, but later in the day the rain will stop and temperatures will rise slightly. In the south, sandstorms are possible overnight.
After Monday’s lull, however, stormy weather will return in redoubled force Tuesday, thanks to a cold front arriving from eastern Europe. Southwesterly winds reaching speeds of 50 to 80 kilometers an hour, and sometimes as high as 100 kph, are liable to disrupt operations at the ports and airports. In the south, sandstorms and haze will seriously limit visibility.
On Tuesday afternoon, snow will begin falling in the northern Golan Heights and then spread to Galilee hilltops more than 800 meters above sea level, including Safed. By Wednesday, these areas are liable to see dozens of centimeters of snow.
On Wednesday, the snow will spread to hills 600 meters above sea level. The snow is expected to reach Jerusalem and the surrounding area Wednesday morning and intensify markedly during the afternoon.
In lower-lying parts of the north and center, heavy rain will fall, creating a danger of flooding in streams in the Judean Desert. Temperatures will be significantly lower than usual for this time of year.
On Thursday, the snow will reach points 500 meters above sea level, and even hilltops in the northern Negev might get a dusting. But the snow will taper off in the afternoon and cease entirely overnight. The rain and winds will also die down as the day wears on, but temperatures will continue to be low, creating a serious danger of ice on the roads after the rain stops.