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Friday, December 13, 2013

Jerusalem of snow

Roads were closed, school was canceled, and public transportation all but shut down in Jerusalem Thursday morning amid snow and stormy weather. One hundred snow removers, fitted with salt dispersers equipped with 90 tons of salt, were sent in to clear the streets of the capital.

The Central Bus Station was closed and intercity travel was interrupted, with the police recommending that motorists not travel on Route 1, the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. Volunteers from the traffic police have been deployed all along the highway.
The Foreign Ministry was closed due to the inclement weather. About 25,000 households lost their electricity Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, a driver who was swept 300 meters by a flash flood in the Negev Desert was rescued by soldiers using ropes. In Beersheba, about 100 trees fell due to the strong winds and municipality workers had to remove the trees from the streets and sidewalks. One Beersheba family was rescued when their house was flooded by rainwater.
Route 90 from Ein Bokek to Nahal Dargot was closed, as was Route 60 from Gush Etzion to Kiryat Arba.
Temperatures on Wednesday night hit 0 degrees centigrade (32 degrees Farenheit) in several cities. The strong winds, rain and hail caused property damage around the country. Winds of 100 kilometers per hour pounded the north and center of the country. The worst is still to come. It will continue to be rainy and cold through Saturday and temperatures are expected to dip further on Friday.
In addition to Jerusalem, school was also canceled in all schools in Kiryat Arba, Ofra, Psagot, Beit El, the Gush Shilo communities, Rahat, Um el-Fahm, the Gush Etzion local council, the Maaleh Iron local council and the communities in the local councils of Neve Midbar and Al-Kasum.
Thirteen-year-old Omer had been hoping school would be canceled and said, "I am wondering whether or not to do my homework because I hope snow will fall and then we won't go to school. I am excited and hope to play with my friends in the snow."
Snow fell on Mount Hermon in northern Israel on Wednesday. Sixty centimeters (23 inches) were measured at the upper terminal of the ski lifts on Wednesday and 30 centimeters were measured at the bottom terminal. No additional snow fell overnight. The ski resort has been closed until further notice.
"If the weather forecasts come true, we will have over a meter of snow by the end of the week and this will allow us to launch the ski season," said Yaakov Shohat, who administers the site.
Route 90, in the Dead Sea area, was closed between Masada and Ein Bokek. School was also canceled in Mevasseret Zion, Har Adar, Tzur Hadassah and Gush Etzion.
Light snow began falling on Wednesday night in the hills of the Galilee and on the Golan Heights, and accumulated in several places.
There were also blackouts in Givat Zeev north of Jerusalem. In Petach Tikvah, the police emergency call center collapsed due to a lightning hit.
The Hever and Tze'elim streams overflowed their banks and flooded extensive areas. Kibbutz Ein Gedi had its electricity cut off due to the strong storm.

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