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Wicked Storm Brings Blessed Rain

“Hurricane” Israel closes schools in the snowbound northern Golan, floods Dead Sea roads, and blesses the country with much-needed rain.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/19/2012, 8:44 AM

Snow at the foot of the Hermon
Snow at the foot of the Hermon
Dor Arma/Tapuz weather forum

“Hurricane” Israel has closed schools in the snowbound northern Golan Heights, flooded Dead Sea roads, and has blessed the country with much-needed rain.

Snow began to fall in Kiryat Arba-Hevron in the early morning, and schools were also closed there as the four-day storm continues to drench the country with rain and snow.

More than four inches of rain have fallen in some northern areas, and the Kinneret rose by 16 centimeters – more than six inches – on the Sabbath.

The heavy snow in the Golan Heights and the lower slopes of the Hermon will prompt a run-off that will help the lake rise dramatically in the coming weeks and relieve Israel's severe water shortage. Even without another major storm – and more rain is forecast before next week – the lake probably will lack less than three meters to its optimum level before the end of winter, the highest level it has reached in years.

Northern and central Israel have received between 100 and 125 percent of the average rainfall for this time of year. The latest storm has brought Be’er Sheva up to more than 60 percent of the average, and rain continued to fall there Sunday morning.

Temperatures are expected to reach near freezing in the Jerusalem region and in the north Sunday night, rising to the upper 40s Fahrenheit (around 10 degrees Celsius) on Monday under partly cloudy skies.

Temperatures will rise to seasonal levels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The longer term forecast calls for a cooling trend on Friday with more rain possible on the Sabbath and Sunday.