Israelis from the north to the Negev woke up to a blanket of white Friday morning, after snow fell in every place more than 300 meters above sea level.
Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion region of Judea, Tzfat (Safed), and the Golan saw the most snow, but the storm hit other areas less prone to inclement weather – including several towns in the Negev.
The lower Golan Heights region, which was also blanketed by the blizzard, has not seen snow since 1992, according to Walla! News.
As of Friday morning, some 30 cm (11.8 inches) of snow has fallen in Tzfat; 20 cm (7.8 inches) has fallen in the Golan Heights.
The Kinneret's water levels have risen over a record 5.5 cm (2.16 inches) over the past 24 hours alone, with the current level at -212.8 meters.
Israelis woke up excited to see the snow, and immediately began filming. Some footage from the southern city of Be'er Sheva can be seen below.
Farther north the snow was coming in hard and piling up.
Schools have been closed in the following locations:
- Jerusalem area: Jerusalem, Ma'ale Adumim, Mevaseret Tzion, Beit El, Kiryat Yearim, Kiryat Arba, and Givat Ze'ev.
- The Samaria (Shomron) Regional Council.
- North: Tzfat (Safed), Ma'alot-Tarshisha, Mi'ilia, Nazareth Illit, Kfar Vradim, Tefen, the Golan Regional Council, the Merom HaGalilee Regional Council, Diliat Al-Carmel, Usifiya.
- Negev: The Al-Kasum Regional Council, the Neve Tamar Regional Council, the Neve Midbar Regional Council, Hevron Hills, Mitzpe Ramon, Meitar, Bnei Shimon, and Arad.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ariel University have also closed their campuses due to the onslaught.
Due to the weather, the following roads have been closed until further notice, as listed by Kol Yisrael radio:
- Route 1, from Latrun to Jerusalem;
- Route 443, from the Maacabim-Reut Junction to Jerusalem;
- Route 396, from Eshtaol to Tzova;
- Route 375, from Tzur Hadassah to Tzomet Haelah;
- Route 99, from Maflei Sa'ar until Masada;
- Route 91, from Shron Junction until Ein Sivan;
- Route 98, from Tzomet Magshimim to Tzomet Bashan, and also from Tzomet Masada to Majdal Shams;
- Route 89, from Horfish to Tzomet Hiran;
- Route 866, from Tzomet Hananya to Tzomet Meron.
- Route 5, from Tapuah to Sha'ar Shomron.
- Route 31, from Tzomet Lehavim to Arad.
- Northbound on Route 40 from Tzomet Kama.
In addition, route 90 from Kibbutz Ein Gedi has been partially closed, and is only open to private vehicles and public buses.
Friday's temperatures: Jerusalem will reach a high of 3C (37.4F), with a low of 1C (33.8F) overnight; Tzfat (Safed) currently at 1C (33.8F), with 0C (32F) overnight. Tel Aviv's temperatures will range from 9C (48.2F)-6C (42.8F); Haifa, 7C (44.6F)-4C (39.2F); Tiberias, 9C (48.2F)-6C (42.8F); Katzrin, 3C (37.4F)-1C (33.8F); and Nazareth Illit, 5C (41F) -3C (37.4F).
Down south, the temperatures are slightly warmer: Ein Gedi will see highs of as much as 13C (55.4F), with lows overnight of 11C (51.8); Be'er Sheva, 7C (44.6F)-4C (39.2F); Ashdod, 11C (51.8)-8C (46.4F); Mitzpe Ramon, 4C (39.2F)-1C (33.8F); and Eilat, 14C (57.2F) – 7C (44.6F).
The Tel Aviv and central Israel areas, the Ashdod area, and other areas not affected by snowfall are expected to see thunderstorms, strong winds, and plummeting temperatures throughout the day Friday.
Snow will continue to fall in the north, areas above 300m of elevation in the center, Jerusalem, and the Negev highlands.
Israelis living in areas with lower elevation are advised to keep abreast of flash flood warnings, as high levels of rainfall will also be expected.
Friday night, most of Israel will be blanketed in rain, accompanied by thunderstorms in some areas. The snow is expected to taper off, even in the highest mountains; temperatures are expected to drop near or well below freezing.
Rains are expected in southern and central Israel Saturday, with flood warnings already in effect for communities near rivers in the Negev.
Sunday will be partly cloudy nationwide with a rise in temperatures and a drop in humidity.