Posts Tagged ‘Snow’

Snow in Israel and Egypt

December 13, 2013

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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Winter Has Come

December 21, 2012

We’ve had our first snowfall of the season here in Madison, Indiana and temperatures have dropped below freezing so I think it would be safe to say that winter has finally arrived after an unusually mild autumn. I was hoping that it would continue to be mild all winter but that is too much to hope for. This reminds me of a recent poll which showed that larger number of Americans were believing in the reality of climate change and that temperatures are rising worldwide. These results are not too surprising considering that the poll was taken during a warm autumn. I suspect that if January turns out to be unusually cold and snowy many of these same people will be convinced that a new ice age is upon us.

Thinking about my own recollections of past seasons, I seem to recall, as a child we never got any snow before the new year. But, then the worst snow we have ever had was in 1977 or 1978 when school was closed for a whole month. The teachers started to send us our homework so that we wouldn’t get too far behind. I do not think we have had so much snow since.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that temperatures have been more even in the past few years. Perhaps I have a difference sort of tolerances for heat and cold. I don’t think we have had many days in which the temperature has risen above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the past few summers. I remember whole weeks in which the temperature stayed in the upper nineties and hundreds. Somehow summer used to be more miserable than it is now. I also remember more winter days in which the temperature dropped below zero degrees Fahrenheit when I was growing up. I do not believe there were more than one or two such days in the last few years, nor do snowfalls seem to be quite as bad. As for extreme weather events,the worst that happened in my lifetime, in the local area, was the super cluster of tornadoes that devastated much of the Midwest back in 1974. We have had tornadoes since then, including several bad ones but none that did quite so much damage. We also had a bad wind storm back in 2005 which was the last remnant of Hurricane Katrina.

None of this means anything, of course. These are just the personal recollections of one man with a fallible memory. I hope this turns out to be a mild winter with little or no snow.


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