Jerusalem Wakes to Winter Wonderland, Blanketed by First Snow in Six Years

Snow will continue to fall throughout the day in Jerusalem and the mountains of northern Israel. Jerusalem schools open late

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A man praying in the snow at the Western Wall this morning.
A man praying in the snow at the Western Wall this morning.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Jerusalem residents woke Thursday to a blanket of snow covering the city, for the first time in six years. The snow began falling in the capital on Wednesday afternoon, reaching seven to 10 centimeters (three to four inches) overnight.

Due to the weather, Jerusalem school openings are delayed, and classes will start at 9 A.M. Route 1 was closed to traffic in both directions overnight, and reopened on Thursday morning. The light rail also halted service because of the snow, but resumed operation in the morning, along with other Jerusalem public transport means.

Snow continued to fall Wednesday night in the Golan Heights, as well as in high-elevation areas in the Galilee and the northern West Bank. Sixty centimeters (about 24 inches) of snow accumulated at the base of the Hermon, and the snowfall is expected to continue on the mountain through Thursday.

Merom Golan residents woke up to about 40 centimeters (16 inches) and Safed got about five centimeters (two inches). Mitzpeh Ramon, deep in Israel's south, even saw a bit of snow – but none of it accumulated.

A woman walking by the Temple Mount in the snow, yesterday.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI - AFP

The Merom Golan, Upper Gailee and Golan regional councils announced that most of their schools would be closed Thursday, as did the Safed Municipality.

Some roads closed in the northern Golan and the Galilee, and public transportation is experiencing disruptions in the area. Route 90 is closed from the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi in both directions. The Nature and Parks Authority closed some of the nature reserves and hiking paths in the north and south. Hearings at the Safed, Katsrin and Mas'ade are canceled due to the weather. Public transportation in Safed has ceased operations, as the roads remain snowy.

Deer run through Jerusalem's Gazelle ValleyCredit: Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

The storms are expected to gradually weaken throughout the day, while snowfall will continue in Jerusalem and the northern hills. Friday will bring rainfall in the north and center of the country, and be very cold. Snow will continue on Mt. Hermon.

Snow blankets Efrat.Credit: Emil Salman
Snow dusts Jerusalem's Old City.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The Negev experienced isolated rainfall, and there is a flood risk for the eastern rivers. The rainfall will diminish during the night.

Saturday is forecast to be partly cloudy with an increase in temperature. The morning will see isolated, light rains. Sunday will be partly cloudy and slightly warmer.

Snow blankets Efrat.Credit: Emil Salman