White Week

PICTORIAL Above: Tzur Hadasa, Jerusalem mountains, December 2013 (Ran Zisovitch)

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Above: Old M60A tank turret, Golan Heights, December 2013 (Ran Zisovitch) Facing page: Safed, Israel Snowmageddon, 2013 (Dave Bender. www.DavidBrianBender.com)

rom December 10 to 14, 2013, following an unseasonable heat wave at the end of November, a heavy snowstorm struck the Middle East. In the wake of extreme synoptic conditions in the upper atmosphere, a stream of cold air from Russia and Scandinavia reached the Eastern Mediterranean, causing unusually heavy rainfall and snow in southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. A flurry of snow flakes also was recorded in Cairo. Snow began to fall on December 12 and continued for four days. In Jerusalem, snow accumulated to a height of 50 centimeters, south of Jerusalem in the Hebron mountains, it reached 90 centimeters. The storm covered the Upper Galilee with over 50 centimeters of snow; in the higher parts of the Galilee, such as the Druze village of Beit Jann, snow piled up to over a meter. On the slopes of Mount Hermon, the snow reached a height of nearly 1.5 meters. Snow also accumulated in parts of the country located at lower levels, around 300-500 meters above sea level. The snow remained on the ground for over a week; in some places in the Upper Galilee, patches

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of snow still could be seen at the beginning of January. This was only the second time since researchers began keeping records of snowfall in Jerusalem in the nineteenth century that a snowstorm occurred in December. (The first was on December 28-29, 1879.) Even during the “snow prone” months of January and February, there have been very few snowstorms of this magnitude. An extraordinary amount of rain accompanied the snow. The greatest amounts were measured along the southern coastal plain around the Gaza Strip. The settlements around Gaza recorded 250300 millimeters of rain. Rainfall along the coastal plain was twice, and at certain places even three times, the average for December. The Galilee, however, received less rain. Even though the powerful storm in December and another bout of rain a week later produced large amounts of rainfall, thus far, rainfall this winter has been sparse and most of the large riverbeds in the Galilee, which usually are flowing with water by this time, still are dry. Adaia Korin
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Below: Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, December 2013 (Nausicaa Giulia Bianchi)‫‏‬

Above: Safed, Israel Snowmageddon 2013 (Dave Bender. www.DavidBrianBender.com) 34

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Above and facing page: Safed, Israel Snowmageddon, 2013 (Dave Bender. www.DavidBrianBender.com)

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Above: Jerusalem, December 2013. (Nausicaa Giulia Bianchi)‫‏‬

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PICTORIAL Below: Etzion Bloc (Gush Etzion Field School)

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