Yerushalayim’s first snowfall in two years closed roads and stopped buses and light rail services on Wednesday.
It was the capital’s part in the storm that swept the country all day and into the night, bringing heavy rain, snow, hail, strong winds (gusting to 50 mph) and freezing temperatures from the Golan Heights to the northern Negev, where snow was also anticipated.
With snow expected to reach a depth of at least four inches, police closed roads around the city, including Route 1 from Sha’ar Hagay Interchange until Sacharov Interchange, as well as all the interchanges leading to Route 1. Route 60 was reported blocked to traffic from Ha’okfim Junction to Haminharot Junction at the entrance to Yerushalayim.
The city said it was ready to deploy its fleet of snow plows and salt sprinklers to clear the roadways, while hospitals and rescue units were on standby.
A Municipality official told Ynet: “The municipality is prepared, there are about 200 engineering tools throughout the city that are just waiting to clear the snow from major routes.”
In the Golan Heights all roads have been closed until further notice, as snow piled up on the ground hour after hour.
In northern Israel, so far at least nine routes have been closed to due dangerous conditions: 97, 91, 98, 99, 866, 899, 959 and 978.
The entrance to the city of Tzefas was blocked for vehicles. “The city is blocked,” said Mayor Ilan Shohat, who called on the residents. “Do not leave your homes. Let us do the work, the whole city is covered in snow.”
Several roads in southern Tel Aviv were flooded, and police are currently helping direct traffic.
The Transportation Ministry announced that all naval ports in the country have been closed until further notice.
The storm is expected to carry on through Thursday and into Friday. But the snow is supposed to let up by Thursday morning; from then on only rain and cold are expected.