Cold Wave to Plunge Israel Into Sub-zero Temperatures

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Zikim beach, southern Israel, February 8, 2020.
Zikim beach, southern Israel, February 8, 2020.Credit: Ilan Assayag

A cold wave is expected to hit Israel Sunday night, with the next two days projected to be the coldest measured this winter as temperatures drop below freezing.

Below zero temperatures are expected due to cold wind gusts coming from Russia via Turkey, according to data provided by the Meteo-Tech's weather forecasting center.

Israel's Mount Hermon, on February 8, 2020.Credit: Hermon website

Temperatures overnight Sunday are expected to drop to 2-4 Celsius degrees below zero at Israel's northern mountains, while at the country's central mountains temperatures will reach zero. Temperatures are projected to reach 6-8 degrees along Israel's coastline overnight Sunday.

The water level at the Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest water reservoir, rose seven centimeters since Friday, the Water Authority said, and currently stands at 210.08 meters below sea level, with the lake currently missing 1.28 meters to reach its full capacity.

A snow cat on Israel's Mount Hermon, on February 8, 2020.Credit: Hermon website

The Golan Regional Council said Sunday that school bus transportation in the northern communities of El Rom, Odem, Neve Ativ and Nimrod would begin at 9 A.M. amid extreme weather conditions, including snow and ice piling on the roads during the night. School will begin at 10 A.M. in the aforementioned communities.  

Light isolated rain showers are expected to fall throughout the country. Light snow may also fall in Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, the cold wave is expected to weaken, but temperatures are projected to still be below seasonal average. On Wednesday temperatures will rise, and rain is expected in Israel's center and north.

The Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, on February 8, 2020.Credit: Ariel Zur

In addition, Mount Hermon will be closed to visitors on Sunday due to the severe weather conditions. Five degrees below zero were measure at the mount's lower level and strong winds were recorded. The site is expected to open to visitors on Monday.

On Saturday the mount was also closed to visitors in the face of snow storms, which blanketed the area in 35-40 centimeters (13.5-16 inches) of snow at the base of the mountain, the site's online page said.

Also on Saturday, the long hiking trail at the Ayun River Nature Reserve, near Metula Israel's northernmost city, was also closed to visitors after heavy rain flooded some of the paths. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority notified visitors that only the short trail near the Tanur waterfall would be open.

In the northern Israeli city of Carmiel, a 22-year-old woman was moderately injured in the city's commercial center by an iron rod that fell on her due to strong winds. She was taken to the hospital in Nahariya.

"When we arrived at the city's commercial center they brought us to a large tent with goods for sale that had been erected in the parking lot," paramedic Tom Carmi said. "The injured woman was lying on the ground, suffering from a head injury. People at the scene told us that she was injured by a metal rod that had fallen and hit her. We conducted medical checks, put her in the ambulance and took her to the hospital in moderate condition."

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