The predicted storm that meteorologists have been speaking about since Sunday is coming they report on Wednesday morning, 29 Shevat, and in a big way. The storm will begin with snowfall on Mt. Hermon today, Wednesday, and spread to the Golan Heights. The snow will continue and intensify heading into Thursday.
Forecasters on Wednesday report that the storm will shift gears on Thursday morning and not in the afternoon as first believed. It has moved up a few hours and this they believe will bring snowfall to the Galil Hills, Tzfas, Yerushalayim and areas over 500 meters altitude. This of course includes Gush Etzion, Hebron and Kiryat Arba, and areas of the Shomron as well.
Thursday night to Friday morning
The main event as forecasters put it will take place between Thursday night and Friday morning, when significant snow accumulations are expected as the snowfall is expected to continue into Shabbos. During the night, as temperatures drop, accumulations may also be seen in lower altitude communities, those between 200-300 meters. This would include but is not limited to Carmiel, Tzipori, Nazareth, Menashe Hills, Carmel, Modi’in, Beit Shemesh, Dimona, Arad, and Beersheva. The significant accumulations however will be seen only in areas 500 meters and higher.
While snow may also be seen in areas of the Negev, which are 400 meters, such as Mitzpei Ramon, the main concern in these areas will be rain and flash flooding. Thundershowers and strong wind gusts will be accompanying the storm. Visibility will be poor at best in flood prone areas such as the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert. The flooding alert becomes more severe towards erev Shabbos.
Friday morning heavy snow expected
Heavy snow is expected on Friday morning in the higher areas, those areas that had accumulations during the night. Accumulations will be especially significant in areas over 700 meters.
On Friday night, there is a strong possibility according to storm trackers that the storm will intensify again, resulting in more snowfall in areas from 700 meters, including the capital.
Snowfall is expected on Shabbos morning in areas 700 meters and higher. The snow will taper off during Shabbos, near the evening. Rainfall is expected to continue in most areas around the country. Wind gusts will dissipate, but temperatures will remain unseasonably cold and there are concerns of icing.
Israel Police has announced that once snow begins to accumulate, they will close vehicular arteries to Jerusalem including Highway 1 (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway) and Route 443 (Jerusalem-Modi’in Highway). Motorists are strongly advised to get off the roads as early as possible.
Egged and other companies hope to continue service for as long as conditions permit. Jerusalem light rail officials hope train service will continue but if accumulations continue as expected over Shabbos, this is most unlikely since tracks will have been covered.
Yerushalayim & Emergency Service Agencies
Jerusalem City Hall announces it is ready as 230 salt trucks are standing by to begin moving to keep main vehicular arteries open. The city has 400 tons of salt on hand and there are dozens of 4 X 4 vehicles standing by to assist during the storm as well. The city has also distributed 1,500 sacks of salt to 500 community offices and schools, where the salt is distributed to residents free of charge.
The city is also preparing thousands of portions of food, thousands of shovels, and emergency heating items such as generators, heating blankets, sleeping bags, and emergency lighting. The city also called on stores to stock up earlier in the week and anyone going to a supermarket can see Jerusalemites got the message as the stores have been full since Tuesday as residents shop for the remainder of the week and Shabbos.
Instructions from City Hall:
· Residents are instructed to be in their homes no later than noon Thursday
· Residents should have ample food for a number of days.
· Shopping should be completed early
· Public transportation is expected to be disrupted
· Chronically ill patients must make certain they have medications at home
· Power outages can be expected as in past storms
Magen David Adom, Zaka, Ichud Hatzalah and other emergency agencies are prepared, having enlisted 4 X 4 vehicles and scheduling volunteers round-the-clock. As in past storms, MDA will also staff police cars in the city with EMTs and paramedics, providing extra response vehicles in cooperation with police.
Yad Sarah is prepared along with other chessed organizations. They will pay special attention to the elderly and infirmed. Yad Sarah will operate dozens of transport vehicles that are going to be equipped with chains. Persons requiring dialysis and other care are advised to phone Yad Sarah. In addition, anyone in need will be able to receive warm refreshments in the Yad Sarah Building lobby. Shuttle vehicles will also transport patients to and from Hadassah Ein KERem Hospital.
Some Important numbers
· Jerusalem City Hall agencies: 106
· Israel Electric Company: 103
· Israel Police: 100
· MDA: 101
· Israel Fire: 102
· Ichud Hatzalah: 1221
· Zaka: 1220
· Yad Sarah: *6444
· Chasdei Naomi: 1-800-677-677
Weather updates will continue as the storm approaches.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)