Snowstorm Updates; Predictions of Unprecedented Snowfall
Unprecedented snowfall continues across Israel.
Snow continues to fall in areas of higher elevation, including in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and in the Gush Etzion region.
Weather authorities also warn of flash flood warnings and heavy rains in Israel's center, extending everywhere not affected by snowfall from Netanya to Ashkelon.
Updates about specific regions are included below.
The Ministry of Transportation has released an official statement late Friday morning, stating that heavy equipment will be brought in to reopen roads leading into and out of the Jerusalem area. The project is being coordinated with the Home Front Command. The Ministry also reiterated, once again, that it is extremely dangerous for motorists at this time.
Some 11,000 requests for help were reported to emergency lines since snowfall began on Thursday. At least 2,000 people have been evacuated from snowed-in vehicles.
"We have asked people living in Jerusalem not to drive in private cars unless they have four-wheel-drive because of the danger on icy streets," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
In addition, Jerusalem bus provider Egged has stated that all busses to and from the city have stopped. Busses currently en route from other destinations - e.g. Line 947, which embarked from Haifa earlier this morning - are instructed to stop well outside the storm zone.
At least 50 centimeters of snow have fallen on Jerusalem by late Friday morning. Weather forecasts predict continuous snowfall through Saturday, with up to a meter (approximately 3 feet) predicted for the Jerusalem area.
Temperatures in the city were predicted to reach a high of two degrees celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) during Friday and drop below freezing at night, with the snowfall that started on Thursday continuing into Saturday, according to AFP.
Unconfirmed reports have also surfaced as of Friday afternoon that the eruv (partition allowing for carrying objects on Shabbat) is down. Arutz Sheva encourages Jerusalem readers to check with local Rabbinic authorities about the situation.
Judea and Samaria
The Afikim bus system from the Judea and Samaria region is officially down Friday, after two busses were in minor accidents Thursday. Police continue to encourage residents to remain indoors.
After a combination snow-and-lightning storm, trees are down in the Ariel area and roads are either closed or blocked. Power outages earlier in the area and across the country are slowly being handled as the storm rages; the Israeli Electric Company urges all residents to call 103 in the event of an outage.
Sleet has begun in Mitzpe Ramon, and snowfall is expected there later Friday, the Transportation Ministry stated.
An earthquake measuring 3.4 on the richter scale occurred in Arad Friday morning. No injuries were reported.
North - Galilee and Golan Heights
Tzfat has reportedly been snowed in Friday, and busses to the area have stopped. More updates pending.