Inicio NOTICIAS Jerusalem of white: Snow falls in capital, northern Israel

Jerusalem of white: Snow falls in capital, northern Israel

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 The Jerusalem Municipality on Thursday morning announced schools and kindergartens will be closed due to snow. Police also closed the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway on Thursday morning at the entrance to the city due to icy conditions.

Elisha Peleg, an official in charge of emergencies with the Jerusalem Municipality, urged the city\’s residents to remain at home and stay off the streets, telling Army Radio the area had overnight seen its greatest snowfall since 1992.

Some 20 centimeters of snow had piled up in the city center by noon Thursday, and more than that in outlying areas. "The downtown area is bathed in white," Peleg said.

"The elders of Jerusalem don\’t remember such a snowstorm in years," Peleg also said.

Public transport had ground to a halt, and many vehicles that ventured onto roads were stuck, he added, urging citizens to remain at home. The Jerusalem light rail resumed service on Thursday just before noon, but 69 bus lines remained out of service, with icy roads making travel tenuous.

"Make it a family day. In the afternoon, the temperatures are supposed to rise and you will be able to head out for some shopping," Peleg added. The sun began to shine in the capital in the early afternoon.

Much of the northern Galilee region was also paralyzed by snow, with 30 cm (12 inches) said to have accumulated in Safed. Northern roads began to open to traffic slowly on Thursday as the worst of the storm seemed to have passed.

Snow also fell in the southern city of Dimona in the Negev and their were reports of snow falling in Ashdod.

Light snow is expected to continue to fall in Jerusalem and northern Israel until the afternoon on Thursday, forecasters say, making the icy conditions on the roads and sidewalks unsafe for travel.

School was also canceled in the Golan Heights, Safed, and in the Galilee, Israel Radio reported.

Palestinian news agency Ma\’an reported that school was also cancelled in the West Bank, reporting heavy flooding that damaged hundreds of homes.

At least 17 people have died in the winter storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and Palestine. Meteorological agencies in Israel and Lebanon both called it the worst storm in 20 years.

After continued heavy rains, Lake Kinneret\’s water level stands at 211.20 meters below sea level, a 14-centimeter rise from Wednesday morning. The basin is still 2.4 meters from being filled to capacity.

Jerusalem’s outlying neighborhoods were the first to celebrate the arrival of snow in the capital on Wednesday. The higher neighborhoods, including Gilo, Ramot and parts of Pisgat Ze’ev and Armon Hanatziv had 2 centimeters of snow on Wednesday afternoon. Snow blanketed the rest of the city at 9 p.m. and fell for about half an hour.

The heavy snow caused the closure of Highway 1 in both directions around 9:30 p.m., stranding more than 100 cars while they waited to clear the roads.

Jerusalem’s Fire and Rescue Services responded to more than 500 calls for assistance on Wednesday, after dozens of antennas and trees, and even a balcony, collapsed due to strong winds.

Emergency services rescued two adults and three children from a jeep using ladders, after the driver tried to fjord a river near Ein Kerem. Firefighters have rescued around 20 vehicles from large puddles and flooded roadways, including a minibus with seven children early Wednesday morning under Highway 9.

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