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December 13, 2013 4:35 pm

Record-breaking Snow Storm Sets on Jerusalem

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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The Judean Hills under snow. Photo: Tamar Asraf, Tazpit News Agency.

Jerusalem became a white city on Thursday as heavy snows blanketed the city throughout the day and into the night. Considered a rare snowstorm, over 10 centimeters of snow fell on the city during the day, setting a December record.

Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat described the snowfall as a festive occasion for Jerusalem residents. “Snow in Jerusalem is a cause for celebration for Jerusalemites and the many visitors who come to see the worlds’ most beautiful city painted white,” the mayor stated. “We hope the snow does not disappoint – especially the children of Jerusalem who are waiting and are excited.”

Schools as well as courses at Hebrew University were cancelled throughout the capital – much to the joy of students, teachers and faculty alike.

Schools in Judea and Samaria were also cancelled for both Thursday and Friday, including in the more mountainous areas of Kiryat Arba, Gush Etzion, Shvut Rachel, Shilo, Tel Tziyon, Maale Levona, Psagot, Beit El, Eli and Ofra. The first snowflakes of the winter had already reached Hebron on Wednesday night.

Israeli police requested that citizens not travel to or leave Jerusalem due to slick roads on Thursday. The main highways leading to the city, Route 1, and Route 443 were closed down until Friday morning. Internal bus transportation in the city was also suspended.

In other parts of the country, the stormy weather which entailed floods, torrential rains and high winds wreaked havoc, causing some cars to be swept away in flash floods. A vehicle with nine children and a driver was swept away in a flood in the Garar River area on Thursday. The driver and children were airlifted to Beer Sheva’s Soroka Medical Center.

Schools in Kfar Kara, Rahat and Um el-Fahm were also closed due to flooding on Thursday.

About 10 centimeters of snowfall hit the north, as snowstorms struck Mount Hermon and Tzfat. Rainfall has drenched the Sharon region, Gush Dan and the Galilee since Tuesday night. Heavy rains also reached the northern Negev as well.

The reason for the sudden heavy storms and wintry weather that has swept Israel is an influx of cold air flowing from Eastern Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean region.  The snow and stormy weather are expected to continue throughout the weekend.

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