Jerusalem in Panic Mode Ahead of Expected Snow Storm

Municipality warns residents to prepare generators, announces road closings and mulls canceling school before the first flake falls

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The trauma of the December 2013 blizzard has left its mark on Jerusalem, and the Israeli capital isn’t about to take any chances ahead of predicted snowfall the second half of this week.

Last year’s three-day snowstorm was the most severe to hit Jerusalem in over 100 years. Hundreds of cars were stranded on local highways, electricity was knocked out in large portions of the city, and not a few people were hospitalized either from freezing or accidents arising from ill-advised schemes to heat their homes.

This year, even before a single flake of snow has fallen, Jerusalem’s municipality has advised residents in certain parts of the city to prepare power generators, has announced that major roads leading into the capital will be closed hours before the storm is expected to arrive, and is considering preemptively canceling school for Wednesday and Thursday.

All of that might sound a bit paranoid for those readers from colder climates. But Israel is in general inadequately equipped to deal with such weather.

Forecasters are currently saying that snow will begin to fall at higher elevations in northern Israel and in Jerusalem around noon on Wednesday and will continue through the night until Thursday morning, at which point the storm will die down.

A second cold front is expected to hit the country on Friday, possibly dumping another load of snow on Jerusalem overnight and into Saturday.

Already over the past weekend, Mount Hermon at the northern tip of Israel’s Golan Heights experienced its first heavy snowfall of the winter, providing visitors with their first real skiing opportunity of the season.

PHOTO: Israel Air Force F–16s fly past a snow-covered Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights.

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