Snow and Rain to Drench Israel Wednesday

February 27, 2012  

Jerusalem is preparing for the third snow scare of the winter, and this time it is more probable that the white stuff will pile up.

In an exact carbon copy of  two weeks ago, Israelis are enjoying near springtime weather Monday under partly cloudy skies, but the temperature will drop sharply and winds will pack a wallop by Tuesday.

Isolated showers will begin at night and will intensify on Wednesday in the northern and central regions, with heavy snow on the Hermon.

The official forecast has not yet predicted snowfall in Jerusalem, but the “Tapuz” Israeli weather forum reports that three professional weather models all agree that snow will fall on Jerusalem Wednesday night and Thursday. The difference between them is the amount of accumulation predicted, ranging from light to heavy and possibly continuing into Friday morning.

The vicious storm that dumped several inches of badly needed rain on the country two weeks ago left Jerusalem residents with a few flakes of snow in the air, while one to two inches fell between Kiryat Arba and Gush Etzion, south of the capital.

The storm is expected to leave the region by Saturday afternoon, but cold temperatures will prevail, and isolated precipitation will also fall on Sunday in the north.

If forecasts of up to four inches of rain this week are borne out, Israel’s water resources will be in their best shape in more than five years although still lacking large amounts of rain that would replenish underground resources and the Kinneret Lake (Sea of Galilee) to capacity level.

Run-off from the last storm still is helping the Kinneret to rise by nearly an inch a day, and as of Monday morning, the lake is 3.66 meters – approximately 12 feet – below levels at which dams would have to be opened to prevent flooding of the beachside city of Tiberias. Opening the dams would increase the flow into the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.

The last time the dams were opened was in 1993.

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