Winter's finally here: Week starts off with rain - and snow

Israel receives two days of much-needed rain as meteorologists predict another dry winter.

Chana Roberts ,

Snowboarding on Mount Hermon
Snowboarding on Mount Hermon
Basel Awidat/Flash 90

After a long stretch of dry weather, winter returned to Israel on Monday, bringing rain to most areas of the country.

On Sunday night, five centimeters of snow fell on the Hermon's lowest slopes and ten fell on its upper slopes. The ski site is currently open to visitors, at no charge.

Ten millimeters of rain have fallen since Sunday in Israel's north and center, with fifty millimeters falling in the Lower Galilee's Biranit army headquarters, and 12 millimeters falling into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Israel's southern Arava region received the least rain, at 1.5 millimeters.

On Monday morning, measurements indicated that the Kinneret's water level had risen a centimeter and a half, marking the lake's first rise since April. At its current level of -214.38 meters, 1.38 meters away from the lower red line and 5.58 meters away from its maximum capacity, the Kinneret's water level is its lowest in nine years.

In an effort to save the sinking lake and its ecosystem, Israel recently decided to pump desalinated water into the Kinneret.

Monday's weather will be chilly, and temperatures will drop, becoming lower than seasonal average. There may be thunderstorms during the morning hours, and snow may fall in the Golan Heights as well as the Hermon. Showers will lessen over the course of the day, but there may be flooding in Israel's eastern valleys.

Monday night will be partly cloudy or clear.

Tuesday will be partly cloudy, with temperatures rising to higher than seasonal average. Strong eastern winds will blow in Israel's north and mountainous regions.

Wednesday is expected to be pleasant, with a significant rise in temperature. Harsh eastern winds may blow in Israel's north and mountainous regions.

Thursday will be partly cloudy or cloudy, and temperatures will remain above seasonal average, rising in Israel's interior and mountainous regions. There may be strong eastern winds in Israel's north and mountainous regions.

Israel's Meteorological Service has predicted Israel will face another dry winter - its fifth in a row. During September-November this year, Israel received only 45% of its average rainfall.

Israel's rainy season is from November through, March, but Israel has hardly had any rainfall since October, leading farmers to worry for their crops. In addition, meteorologists are predicting that Israel will receive only get 47% of the rain needed for agriculture before the winter ends.

In October, state-religious schools throughout Israel held a mass prayer session, praying for rain and the redemption.

On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel initiated a special prayer assembly at the Western Wall, calling on the public to "'tear open the gates of Heaven" in their prayers for rain. The session will be held on the Tenth of Tevet, a fast commemorating the siege of Jerusalem, at 3:30p.m. Several public figures and Knesset members are expected to attend.

However, for the past eleven days, worshipers in synagogues around the country have said the special prayer "Aneinu," pleading with G-d to send the parched country rain.

On Sunday, Sephardic-haredi Rabbi Meir Mazuz called for a day of fasting and prayer, to atone for sins which the Torah says can be the factor causing Israel's four-year drought.