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Massive snowstorm hits Israel

Just as predicted gale force winds and rain pelt the country, with snow in the offing and Mt. Hermon in the north already covered in white.

Ari Yashar,

Mount Hermon already covered in snow
Mount Hermon already covered in snow
Basel Awidat/Flash 90

Israel has been bracing for its first massive snowstorm of the year, and on Friday the weather did not disappoint, with gale force winds and heavy rains visiting upon various regions, and Mount Hermon in the north already under heavy snow since late Thursday.

As of 7 a.m., Mount Hermon, Israel's only ski site, had already recorded around 30 centimeters (nearly 12 inches) of snow on the lower levels of the mountain alone.

On the upper reaches of the mount, a full 60 centimeters (over 23 inches) had already fallen, with the snow anticipated to only get heavier throughout the day. The temperature in the morning hours has remained below 0° C (under 32° F). Mount Hermon is to remain closed over the weekend due to the growing snowstorm and road closures in the region.

Snow has started falling from the morning hours also on the mountains in the Golan Heights where it is expected to reach 20 centimeters (just under 8 inches), and is likewise predicted to spread to the Galilee later in the day where 15 centimeters (just under 6 inches) are anticipated.

The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) rose 3 centimeters (just over 1 inch) in the morning hours, with at least 60 millimeters (over 2 inches) of rain falling in the morning in the Upper Galilee and the Golan, with a similar quantity falling in the Jerusalem area mountains.

There have been reports of power outages in several areas of Tel Aviv and Ramat Hasharon on Friday morning, and in Tzfat (Safed) in the north, it was announced on Thursday night that schools are to remain closed on Friday. Light snow began falling in Tzfat, and in nearby Meron, at around 8 a.m. on Friday morning.

The snowfall is also expected to reach Jerusalem later in the day, although it is not anticipated to be heavy, with meteorologists predicting 5 centimeters (just under 2 inches) of snow on Friday.

Temperatures on Friday are to be a chilly 7° C (44.6° F) in Katzrin on the Golan Heights, 4° C (39.2° F) in Tzfat, 12° C (53.6° F) in Tiberias, 9° C (48.2° F) in Haifa, 4° C in Ariel, 12° C (53.6° F) in Tel Aviv, 4°C in Jerusalem, 12° C in Be'er Sheva, and 16° C (60.8° F) in Eilat.

There are flood warnings for rivers in the south as well as in the Judean desert.

On Saturday the weather will continue to be cloudy and cold, with local rains, but the gale force winds are to slacken off to a certain degree.

The rain will continue incrementally on Sunday, mostly in the north. Snow is to continue falling on Mount Hermon, and in the morning snow also may fall in the Golan mountains. Temperatures will raise slightly, but will remain below seasonal norms.

A noted rise in the temperature is expected for Monday, with the weather in most of the country predicted to be pleasant to partially cloudy.