Netanyahu warns storm is not over; 19,000 lose power
School canceled for Thursday in West Bank, around Jerusalem; 13-year-old killed in car accident on icy road
January 7, 2015, 8:39 am Updated: January 7, 2015, 12:20 pm
Heavy rains and high winds swept Israel Tuesday night and through Wednesday as a major winter storm descended upon the country. Hail and snow were reported in the north from early Wednesday, and spread to elevated peaks in the center of the country by mid-morning, with brief power outages reported in various parts of the country. Despite predictions of heavy snowfall in the capital, Jerusalem saw only a sporadic sprinkle, with more expected overnight Wednesday-Thursday. School was canceled in the Golan Heights, West Bank, and around Jerusalem for Thursday due to inclement weather. A 13-year-old was killed in a car accident on an icy road after a bus driver lost control and slammed into a nearby vehicle, and several people were treated for various weather-related injuries, including hypothermia. The Times of Israel liveblogged the weather through Wednesday here.
Wind damage reported as cities brace for snow
Bearing violent winds, intense rain and hail, a severe winter storm descended on Israel overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday. Blackouts are reported in major cities as trees – and in Netanya, parts of a building under construction – are blown about in the storm winds.
The initial damage comes from strong winds. In Petah Tikva a tree falls on a bus carrying passengers. No one is hurt. Limited blackouts are reported in parts of Haifa, Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, Acre, Netanya and some Galilee towns, as well as in Modi’in.
Some 30 cm (1 ft) of snow is expected to fall Jerusalem starting in the afternoon. Snow has already been falling in the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee since last night.
The big news for parents (and even more so for kids): schools, kindergartens and day cares are closed throughout the mountainous regions of the country, especially in the Galilee and Jerusalem areas.
It’s going to be an interesting few days, as the Chinese saying goes.
PHOTOS: Streets of Tzfas fully covered with snow this morning, as first snowstorm arrives. (Photos Abe Spira) pic.twitter.com/67by0h0BAm— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) January 7, 2015
Several West Bank settlements lose power
The West Bank settlements of Itamar, Elon Moreh, Har Bracha, Kiryat Netafim and Yitzhar lose power.
A downed power line is being blamed for the blackout.
Settlements have been instructed to turn on their on-site generators.
Parts of Netanya building under construction fly in storm winds
Netanya Police have shut down sections of Ben Gurion Street after parts of a building under construction in the area break free in the strong crosswinds and fall onto a nearby road.
Emergency forces are on hand.
There are no reports of injuries.
Massive Netanya billboard collapses into road
Wind damage seems to be concentrating in the coastal city of Netanya.
A 50-ton billboard has crashed into the street. Police say they have disconnected it from the power grid, and emergency services are working to remove it.
There are no reported injuries.
העמוד שקרס בנתניה – עדכון: מדובר בעמוד פרסומת השוקל כ-50 טון. החשמל המחובר אליו נותק pic.twitter.com/ZsDdIfKQvb— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) January 7, 2015
כבר התחילו לחסום צירים pic.twitter.com/708CBURktS— Ronen Polakרונן פולק (@RonenPolak) January 7, 2015
‘Safed is under siege’
The historic mountaintop city of Safed in the Galilee region is closed to traffic, both from the outside and within the city’s limits.
Public transportation is completely shut down, and police have closed the winding mountain roads that lead in and out of the city, leading to media headlines calling the city “besieged.”A reminder: Jerusalem is expected to receive the same treatment starting at 10 a.m. (in just over an hour), when police will close the mountain highways leading into the capita