Jerusalem Gets Snow From Biggest Storm In More Than Two Decades

Jerusalem has snow as the strongest storm in more than 20 years dumped accumulation across the north of Israel.

The snow started early this week in Jerusalem after torrential downpours struck the area, with accumulation also falling in areas of the West Bank including Hebron and Ramallah. Residents in Jerusalem were advised to stay inside unless they had to travel, and Mayor Nir Barkat advised visitors who wanted to come to the holy city to witness the snowfall to wait until it finished.

The Jerusalem snow caused schools to close because of worries over dangerous travel, along with flooding and loss of electricity from the flooding, JTA reported.

The snow was even heavier outside of Jerusalem. At least three feet fell on Mount Hermon in northern Israel, as the country was also plagued by high winds. The snow and wintry weather already caused at least two deaths — two Palestinian women were swept off the road by flooding near Nablus on Tuesday and found dead the next morning. The driver of the car survived.

Tel Aviv’s main highway was also closed for several hours because of water overflows while military helicopters rescued people stranded on rooftops due to flooding in their homes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich and police officials to assess the nation’s disaster preparedness efforts, Bloomberg reported.

“Emergency and rescue services are working around the clock to save lives,” Netanyahu said in a text message from his Jerusalem office.

The Jerusalem snow storm is expected to cost Israel about $80 million, half of it from absenteeism after police roadblocks prevented people from gong to work.