Picturesque Snow in Gush Etzion
Picturesque Snow in Gush Etzion Gershon Ellinson

Now that the “great storm” is over, Israel is counting the numbers – and among the records set are the 35-year low temperatures that hit the country over the weekend.

In Kibbutz Marom Golan on the Golan Heights, the temperature hit a low of minus 14.2 centigrade (six degrees fahrenheit) – the coldest temperature recorded in Israel in three and a half decades.

While Jerusalem didn't get as much snow as some had hoped – although there were healthy amounts north and south of the city, in the Binyamin and Gush Etzion regions – it was northern Israel that bore the brunt of the snow. In the Hula Valley, for example, the snow cover was heavier than it had been since 1992, officials said. The Hermon Mountain has between 1.7 and 4 meters of snow cover, and officials expect the Hermon Ski Center to open Monday.

According to Dr. Amos Porat of the Meteorological Service, the rains that fell over the seven days ending Saturday were about the same or slightly more than the amount that usually falls in January. The coastal plain received between 100 and 150 millimeters of rain, while the north received 80-170 mm of rain.

The season has been a rainy one so far as well; compared to an average year, northern Israel received 120%-150% of its rainfall. In the center of the country and in the Negev, this year's rainfall has so far been between 150% and 200% of the average rainfall through January 10. In much of the country, some 65% of the annual average rainfall has already fallen; in some areas in the center of the country, that figure approaches or exceeds 100%.

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