Jerusalem in snow (file)
Jerusalem in snow (file)Mendy Hechtman/Flash 90

The late winter snowstorm has fallen upon Israel, with snowfall in the northern Golan Heights and Galilee hills, including Tzfat (Safed), and now in parts of Jerusalem and down into Kiryat Arba and Hevron in Judea.

Mount Hermon, Israel's sole skiing site, has been closed to visitors due to the harsh weather, with slushy rain and snow falling in areas of Samaria and even the Binyamin region of Samaria just north of Jerusalem as well.

Before the storm set in, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a briefing on preparations at the Border Police headquarters in Lod, saying "instructions are, first of all, to save lives, before anything else, to prevent loss of life. The second instruction is – to the best of our ability – to see to the orderly supply of electricity." 

Video from Beit Jan, a Druze village in the Galilee region of northern Israel, shows the snow setting in as the storm begins to hit.

Much farther south, in the Rosh Tzurim kibbutz in Judea's Gush Etzion region south of Jerusalem, the snow was in full swing as well, as captured on video.

שלג קל בראש צורים

Credit: Yehuda Shapira

After hitting the north, the snow spread out to the Jerusalem mountain range, and is expected to begin pummeling the Karmel region as well as hills in the central coastal region, at heights of 200 to 300 meters in the north and 300 to 400 meters in the central region.

It is anticipated that the snow will reach as far south as the Negev, with dozens of centimeters (at least half a foot) of snow expected to collect by Friday morning, mostly on mountains of a height of 500 meters or more.

The traffic police have been working on the highways leading to Jerusalem, Highway 1 and Highway 443, to prepare for the heavy snowfall. The highways are being closed temporarily with the police asking motorists to avoid unnecessary travel.

In the Golan the following highways have been closed: 99 from Sa'ar Junction to Majdal Shams, 9 from Shiryon Junction to Ein Zivan, and 98 from Ramat Magshimim to Elonei Habashan.

In the Dead Sea area of the Jordan Valley, Highway 90 has been closed in both directions in the Ein Bokek area; a detour has been established for private vehicles.

The storm
The stormIsrael Meteorological Services