Under the weight of a 3 day winter storm Palestinian schools have been closed for 3 days. Fears of the very heavy snowfall that has hit the region over the last two winters have as yet failed to materialise. Temperatures have been hovering around freezing since Monday although the storm was initially predicted to hit the region on Sunday evening.
Some flooding has been reported in Gaza along with high winds which caused some damage in Israeli cities. Snow first hit the West Bank on Monday as a heavy snowstorm left a temporary blanket of white around some higher areas. The cold snap has continued with intermittent rain, cloud and snow, and on Tuesday evening the heaviest snow fell around Jerusalem, Hebron and some parts of Ramallah.
Ill-equipped to deal with cold weather, schools across the West Bank have been closed since the weekend. With many schools having little or no classroom heating, classes are cancelled in advance of predicted freezing temperatures.
Hospitals and Municipalities across the region were on full alert having learned from the experiences of the last two winters which brought cities to a standstill amidst several feet of snow. Many people had to be evacuated from their homes in 2014 and again in 2015 when the storms hit and many major roads were impassable.
To date, fears of a repeat which have seen people stocking up on essentials and heating gas temporarily sell out in Ramallah, have not been realised and it is hoped that the worst has now passed. Snow remains on the ground in several higher areas but latest forecasts predict temperatures to rise over the coming days.
Photo story by MEMO’s Rich Wiles.