Snow falling on Jersualem, extreme weather in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010
Snow on the ground in Migdal Oz

Snow on the ground in Migdal Oz

After months of unusually warm weather and dangerously low rainfall, Israel is now experiencing the other extreme – snow.

The country has been hit by the largest snowstorm in two decades, with 120 centimetres of snow falling on Mount Hermon in the north.

The weather raging across the Middle East also caused a Moldovan ship to sink in the Mediterranean Sea, 15 kilometres off the coast of Ashdod in the south. All the crew members escaped the ship.

Light snowfall has also fallen around the country including in Jerusalem.

The snow follows a downpour in the north which caused Lake Kinneret to rise by five centimetres in three days.

Around 76 milimetres of rain fell in Haifa in just a few days, a week after the area was devastated by the Carmel forest fires, which experts said spreads so intensely because of the dry climate.

Concern about the long period of dry weather in Israel saw rabbis and members of Israel’s religious community making extra prayers for rain, with some even taking a boat out into the Kinneret for a special ceremony.

Last updated: 10:05am, December 13 2010