Kinneret water level rises

While Jerusalem saw a dissappointing amount of snow – only 5cm -1.1 meter cm have piled up on Mount Hermon; Safed, meanwhile, was drenched with 72mm of rain.

The winter storm was not as strong in magnitude as initially forecasted – Jerusalem only saw 5 cm of snow – but the Sea of Galilee has risen 7 cm since Saturday due to the pouring rain, bringing it to -212.77 meters.

The Water Authority reported the water level at the Kinneret rose 3 cm in the last 24 hours and that the Jordan River broke its own record of water flow, which reached 40 cubic meters a second.

Elsewhere in the country, the overnight rain led to record water flows in smaller streams as well – Ayalon Stream saw a 104 cubic meter a second water flow.

Snow fell in all of the high peaks of the northern mountains. The northern Golan Heights area was closed for traffic because of the storm, with snow measuring a meter high piling up on the ground, while the northern neighborhoods of Safed saw 15 cm of snow.

Since the beginning of the storm, up to 1.1 meters of snow piled up at the Hermon ski site. The northern Golan Heights saw 40 cm of snow, Meron Mountain saw 20 cm, 15 cm in Safed, 10 cm in Hebron and only 5 cm in Jerusalem.

As for rain – on Wednesday, Safed had 72 mm of rain, Acre had 61 mm, 55 mm of rain were noted in Haifa and Rishon LeZion, 48 mm in the Golan Heights, 46 mm in the Hula Valley, 41 mm in Nahalal, 37 mm in Tel Aviv, 32 mm in Jerusalem, 29 mm in Ashdod, 28 mm in the Kinneret, 20 mm in Netanya, 19 mm in Kiryat Gat, 8 mm in Ofakim and 5mm in Arad.

The Education Ministry decided to cancel school in several communities in the north, in the Samaria region of the West Bank and around Jerusalem. In the capital, school will start at 10am.

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Ghost town

Amid intermittent rain, hail, lighting and a few snow flurries, Jerusalem took on the eerie visage of a ghost town Wednesday, as residents largely opted to stay at home – with the exception of a few brave souls who ventured out to warm themselves over coffee, hot cocoa, and “snow Margaritas.”

Apart from an occasional light rail train passing by, the city’s normally bustling Jaffa Road initially appeared to be devoid of life. However, sprinkled among the hundreds of closed shops, coffee houses were relatively teeming with life.

As he sat at a table with friends at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, lone soldier Levi Hirsch, originally from Atlanta, said he is greatful that his military base granted him earley leave to avoid being trapped there for the weekend.

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Hirsch’s friend, Hannah Laskow, also a lone soldier given early leave from her northern base,also praised the city’s respose to the unusual weather.

“Since this part of the country isn’t used to snow, they’re learning from their experiences from last year and doing a great job ,”she said. “This year they let civilians know of bus closings and have been really careful about not getting people stuck.”

Morever, Laskow said ,she was taken by the country’s ability to work together under duress.

“Every piece of Israel is working together – from plows cleaning the streets, to the IDF being considerate by letting us out early,” she continued.”They know we’re on our own and need our weekends off.”

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“No other country in the world would let their soldiers leave early to make sure they’re home and safe,”she added.

Noting that most of the city had shut down, the café’s owner, Ronen Turgemen, said he decided to keep his doors open to offer a safe refuge for homebound patrons.

“I’m open all day,because I enjoy people coming in and enjoying the place,” he said, as a dozen or so customers nursed coffee and hot chocolate. “It’s hot inside and cold outside, so it’s nice to see people wrap their hands around their cups and stay warm.”

A few minutes later, as thick snowflakes finally began accumulating, blanketing Jaffa Road, 12-year-old Nir Tzelnick, his six year-old brother, Itamar, and 15-year-old sister, Shir, excitedly made snowballs.

“It’s very nice and lots of fun to throw snowballs, and I hope there will be enough so I can build a snowman and make a snow angel,” said Nir.

Itamar, who said he saw his first major snowfall last year,added that he hopes to make an igloo and then go inside it to sip hot chocolate.

Asked how much snow he hopes will fall,the little boy raised his right arm high above is head with a big smile: “This much” he said.

Meanwhile , Shir said she was not thrilled about the cold, but conceded that the weather afforded her one major benefit.

“I don’t like that it’s freezing outside, but I do like that there’s no school,” she said