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      Snow May Fall on Gush Etzion; IDF Prepares for Storm in Golan

      The first major snow of the winter will smack the Golan Heights and may reach Gush Etzion Thursday, weather forecasters predict.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 1/10/2012, 9:42 AM

      IDF ready for snowstorm
      IDF ready for snowstorm
      Israelnews photo: IDF

      The first major snow of the winter will smack the Golan Heights and may reach Gush Etzion Thursday, weather forecasters predict.

      Tuesday’s warming trend will be short-lived and the storm is expected to begin in the north at night, with rain, thunderstorms and hail. Snow will start to fall on the Hermon and may leave behind enough white stuff for the enjoyment of skiers next week.

      The rain will spread to the center of Israel late Wednesday and will reach the northern Negev, where very little rain has fallen so far this year.

      Precipitation will be even stronger on Thursday, and snow is expected to fall on mountaintops that are 2,800-feet high, which would include Tzfat in the Galilee, some points in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, and the southern Hevron Hills, in the area north of Arad and Be’er Sheva.

      Rain and snow will continue on Friday and taper off by the morning of the Sabbath. Longer-range forecasts foresee another storm system moving in on Sunday or Monday.

      Israel is facing its eight straight year of a drought, but this week’s expected rainfall should bring the rainfall up the average level, and even beyond, for this time of the year, except in the parched Negev.

      The IDF’s snow removal unit already prepared for snow in the Golan Heights as part of its annual procedures, which include making sure that all important arteries leading to main bases are kept open.

      "Many resources have been invested in warming equipment, including socks, snowsuits, sweat and water-resistant clothes and special shoes," according to Chief Warrant Officer Avi Bezalel.