Thousands Still Without Power as Israel Recovers From Stormy Weekend

Minister warns drivers not travel at night, as temperature expected to drop; Schools in Jerusalem and Ariel to remain closed on Monday.

Some 14,000 homes were still without power across the country on Sunday, as Israel began to recover from a massive snowstorm that hit the region over the weekend.

Route 1, the main traffic artery to Jerusalem, was opened on Saturday, but police asked drivers to use extra caution. The Egged bus company announced that it has stopped intercity bus service from the capital for the night due to icy roads. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called on drivers to avoid driving at night, as temperature falls.

Schools and kindergartens will remain closed on Monday and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem said that classes will only be resumed at noon. Schools and academic institutions in Ariel will also be closed on Monday.

Local government officials estimated that the storm will cost the Israeli economy at least 330 million shekels. The prices of fresh vegetables have risen due to the storm, as farmers suffered 100 million shekels ($29 million) in damage, according to preliminary estimates.

Damage to farmers in Gaza and the West Bank were estimated at 42 million shekels ($12 million), the Palestinian agriculture minister said.

Monday is expected to be clear and warmer, but still unseasonably cold with a chance of frost overnight. Temperatures will rise as the week progresses, but will be colder than usual for this time of year. 

Olivier Fitoussi