Heavy Snow on the Golan, Electricity Outages From Haifa to Ashkelon

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Snow on Mt. Hermon, 2014.
Snow on Mt. Hermon, 2014.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Updates

Electric outages and closed roads

Electrical outages were reported in north Tel Aviv, Ramat Hasharon, Eben Yehuda, Netanya, Haifa, Yeroham, Ashkelon and some West Bank settlements on Friday due to strong winds. The Israel Electricity Corp. warned the public about fallen cables due to the high winds.

The IEC is on a state of alert and has completed preparations for the storm, including sending generators to sensitive areas in Jerusalem and the north and putting emergency teams on standby. For the past two weeks the IEC has been uprooting trees in close proximity to electrical installations.

For the first time this winter, large volumes of rain fell in the north of the country, raising the level of the Kinneret by about three centimeters. Snow continues to pile up on the Hermon, while light snow is falling in the northern Golan settlements.

Several roads on the Golan have been closed due to the weather. They include Artillery junction on road 91 in the direction of Ein Zivan;  Waset junction in the direction of Masada (road 978) and Ein Zivan (959,) Mifal Saar junction in the direction of Neve Ativ and Majdal Shams and Ein Sivan junction to those heading north from the direction of the eastern Golan.

The roads in the Golan are slippery due to the rain and snow, with police advising the public to stay away from the northern Golan.

The storm is expected to begin petering out on Saturday, though rain will continue falling in the north and center of the country. Temperatures will be well below the seasonal average.

Snow falls in Bethlehem

As of early Friday morning, snow began to fall in Bethlehem, Gush Etzion, and other parts of the West Bank. The Golan Heights, Safed are already coated with a fresh layers of snow. 

Low chance of disruption

Despite earlier reports, there is a low chance of disruption in Jerusalem Friday due to severe weather. While meteorologists predict snow tonight and tomorrow, they do not anticipate snows heavy enough to cripple the city, as happened in December 2013. No snow plows have been sent to the city as of yet. Emergency forces are still on alert. 

School's out in Safed

The Safed municipality canceled school in the area Friday amid severe weather warning. 

Jerusalem police issue severe weather advisory

Jerusalem police forces are preparing for stormy weather in conjunction with the IEC, MDA, and army, among other agencies in light of the Israel Meteorological Service's snow warning. An emergency weather call service was set up (dial 100).

Authorities are recommending that motorists take the impending weather into consideration.  The public is asked to remain vigilant and refrain from activities that'll pose safety risks.

Authorities also suggest following the Jerusalem police on social media for weather related updates in real time.  

Snow warning issue for J'lem

The Israel Meteorological Service has issued a warning for Jerusalemites - and for City Hall - that the snowfall expected in the coming hours may settle.

In previous years, Jerusalem residents have been caught out by sudden snow, which has closed roads in and around the capital.

Jerusalem Snow 2015Credit: David Metzler

Mt. Hermon closes to visitors

Mt. Hermon in northern Israel was closed to visitors Thursday morning and rain fell from the north all the way down to the Negev as a storm front moved inland from the Mediterranean Sea. 

Temperatures - and rain - were expected to continue falling throughout the day with the possibility of flooding.

The winter storm will only be felt in full strength on Friday with more rain and low temperatures. Snow is also due to continue falling on Mt. Hermon and will also descend to the Galilee and the Golan Heights with a chance for light snow in Jerusalem as well.

Friday is also set to see winds as strong as 80 kilometers per hour (50mph) and some flooding may also occur in low-lying areas.

More rain is expected on Saturday, particularly in the north and center of the country, but wind speed is expected to fall. Snow, however, will likely continue on the northern slopes. 

Pockets of rain will continue in the north and in the center on Sunday and cold temperatures will also persist.

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