Snow in Israel and Egypt

These are strange times we are living in. Right now, there is a snowstorm in Israel. I didn’t think it ever snowed there. It is even snowing in Egypt. Here is the story at the Israel National News via the Drudge Report.

Snow continues to fall across Israel Friday morning, reaching new regions of the country and causing major power outages and road closures. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat released a statement saying “we are battling a storm of rare ferocity.” The capital has over 37 centimeters (15 inches) of snow, with deeper snowfall in other areas.

A weather forecaster on public radio described the storm as “historic,” as Jerusalem temperatures already dropped to 2 degrees celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit), and are expected to drop below freezing. Snow is anticipated to continue falling through Saturday.

The views in Jerusalem are spectacular, as the hills of the city turn white and the rooftops in older neighborhoods wear a white contrast to the Jerusalem stone.

A power outage has affected more than half of Jerusalem, although some areas are reporting a return of electricity. In Kiryat Moshe, Merkaz Harav Yeshiva opened its dormitory and dining room to stranded families who reached the entrance of the city, where the yeshiva is located, but could not get to their destination.

Many more drivers were stuck on the roads in the city overnight, without food and water, after attempting to reach the city to see the snow.

The Jerusalem municipality is continuing with the rescue operations that began Thursday night and have so far saved over 2,000 people. The IDF and the Border Police are assisting in the operation.

Drivers who have been rescued have been taken to the Binyanei HaUma (International Convention Center), a community center in Mevaseret Zion and the Ofer Camp on Highway 443.

The Israeli police have released a particularly strong warning to drivers in affected areas against going out in blizzard conditions. Police have warned residents across the country to avoid leaving their homes for any reason during the snowfall.

Judea and Central Samaria villages are also receiving more snow – some for the first time in over ten years – including in Ariel, Nofim, Yakir, and Barkan.

In light of the situation, schools are closed in the following places: Yakir, Ariel, Barkan, Revava, Tapuah, Alei Zahav, Peduel, Rehalim, Nofei Nehemia, Bruhin, Kiryat Netafim, Yitzhar, Har Braha, Itamar, Alon Moreh, and Karnei Shomron.

Power outages have been reported across the central Samaria area; all roads are closed. The Shomron Regional Council is working to help Judea and Samaria residents and to provide aid.

I wonder if drivers there even know how to handle snow. Here is the story about the snow in Egypt from the LA Times again via the Drudge Report.

Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Middle East storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

Nearly three feet of snow closed roads in and out of Jerusalem, which is set in high hills, and thousands in and around the city were left without power. Israeli soldiers and police rescued  hundreds trapped in their cars by snow and ice. In the West Bank, the branches of olive trees groaned under the weight of snow.

In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares. In other parts of the city, rain and hail rocketed down.

I’m surprised the Egyptians even know what snow is. Before, they could only have known snow from watching movies and television. There have also been records in cold and snow set here in the United States, as I have noticed whenever I have gone outside.

Meanwhile, solar activity is the weakest it has been observed for a century. Could this have some effect on the Earth’s climate? Perhaps we are in for a cold winter and a cool summer next year. Maybe even a repeat of the Little Ice Age. It may be that in the not too distant future we will be longing for some global warming.

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