Snow in Beit El
Snow in Beit ElArutz Sheva

The first major winter storm for this year is in full swing, and snow began falling Wednesday night in Gush Etzion, Hevron and the area.

As of about 1:00 a.m., snow also began falling and accumulating in the mountains of Shomron (Samaria) and, as of 5:30 a.m., also arrived in Jerusalem.

Forecasters have predicted that up to 20 centimeters of snow could accumulate in the area.

On Thursday morning Jerusalem city officials decided not to open schools in the city. School was cancelled in Har Adar, Mevaseret Tzion, and Gush Etzion as well.

The Jerusalem Light Rail announced that trains would continue to travel back and forth along the light rail throughout the night, in order to prevent the accumulation of snow or ice on the tracks and allowing them to operate on Thursday, even during the snow.

Throughout the day on Wednesday, the storm changed flight patterns and led to traffic difficulties, as heavy rains were accompanied by a strong cold and 55 kilometer per hour (35 mph) winds.

On Mount Hermon, snow ploughs have been working to clear the 15 centimeters (half a foot) of snow that fell there.

Meanwhile the coastal region saw some of the most intense rain. Tel Mond, just outside of Netanya, received 112 millimeters (4.5 inches) of rain.