New Israeli Website Caters to Jerusalem's Annual 'Snowmania'

'Yershamayim' is becoming a lodestone for Jerusalem weather addicts, allowing them to openly long for the first snow fall in four years.

From conversations with Jerusalemites, especially the born and bred, it seems the time has come to define "Jerusalem snowmania" as a official psychological ailment, or at least a new religion. If it is a religion, then the winter of 1992 is its paradise lost, and the website called "Yershamayim" is the Mecca of its believers.

"Snow, snow snow, come to my pocket and my hat. Come to me, I miss you so, and if you don't come to me, snow, I will go to you."

Boaz Nehemia - Olivier Fitoussi - February 2012
Olivier Fitoussi

In those words, a Jerusalem devotee of the white stuff wrote his heart out on the website yesterday, no doubt expressing the deepest longings of tens of thousands of his fellow-believers. After four long years, they hope a good snowfall will blanket the capital.

Yerushamayim (a combination of the Hebrew words for Jerusalem and sky ), was established in 2002 by former meteorologist and present-day computer man Boaz Nehemia. He runs it from home, and updates the weather every 10 minutes.

It has become a lodestone for Jerusalem weather addicts, as well as a sideline for Nehemia.

Surfers can not only get updated weather reports but also specific answers and analyses from Nehemia, the webmaster, who might also be deemed "the prophet."

The stormier it is outdoors, Nehemia says, the more his visitors shovel a cyber-path to his virtual door seeking answers to their weather questions.

And of course, the ultimate question is always - when will it snow? How much accumulation will there be?

On Tuesday and yesterday, the site had about 13,000 visitors looking for the answer to just that question. But Nehemia did not have good news for them. "Clean, light snow will fall briefly and the likely scenario is an accumulation of 0 to 5 centimeters, from 750 meters above sea level and higher, and the emphasis is on '0 to,'" he wrote on the site.

He also reminds his audience that five centimeters is not enough to cancel school or close roads.

But Nehemia has some words of comfort, telling Haaretz: "With weather, it's all a matter of probability. The main scenario is 60 to 70 percent chance of light snow, 10 percent chance of it being more serious than a few centimeters, and 20 to 30 percent chance there will be no snow."

It's best to lower expectations and stay skeptical, Nehemia says, especially about snow.

Read this article in Hebrew