Israel's first winter storm upon us

Peak of the storm will hit overnight Friday with 20 centimeters of snow predicted on Mount Hermon, and light snow anticipated in Jerusalem.

Cynthia Blank ,

Jerusalem post-snowstorm, December 2013
Jerusalem post-snowstorm, December 2013

The peak of Israel's first major winter storm will hit only on Thursday night - but rain, wind and cold are expected all day. 

Local rains are expected to fall throughout the day from northern Israel to the northern Negev, intensifying during the afternoon. Toward the evening, snow will also begin to fall in the north. 

Up to 20 centimeters (~8 inches) of snow are predicted on Mount Hermon, with another 15 anticipated in the Galilee. Jerusalem, however, will likely have to settle with some light snow on Friday, although sleet is more likely. 

The worst part of the storm will occur overnight Thursday into Friday afternoon. Heavy flooding is anticipated and Israeli authorities are also concerned over damage to the electrical system. 

The record low temperatures, however, are only expected Friday night until the afternoon on Saturday. The cold temperatures will be accompanied by cloudy skies and light rainfall, particularly in Israel's central region. 

Rain may continue on Sunday, particularly in the north and additional snow is also predicted on Mount Hermon and in the Golan. Temperatures will be slightly warmer, but still unseasonably cold. 

The Ministry of Health has published a list of safety recommendations for citizens, especially the elderly and parents with young children, in order to minimize damage caused by the cold. 

These include heating the house at a constant 24°C (75.2°F) temperature, wearing warm clothing, and sealing all windows and doors to prevent cold from entering. 

Magen David Adom is also preparing for the storm; it has added reinforcements to shifts and put dozens of ambulances on high alert. 

The Israel Electric Company has taken preventive measures against potential power outages, and has ordered reinforcements to its teams, particularly in northern Israel.