It's been one of the wettest and coldest winters on record for Israel, and Jerusalem has been no exception. For the third time this winter, Jerusalem received a snow warning in the weather forecast and we prepared yet again for a blustery, gusty, rainy, chilled-to-the-bone kind of weekend. And that we had (yet again....). I'm really beyond ready to retire my winter coat. I know people find it hard to believe that Israel "land of the sun" has a winter, but I can assure you that it's as real as real can get. On Friday morning, we woke up to grey, clouded skies and frost on the ground. Was it frost? Was it snow? Was it freezing rain? It was hard to tell. But surely a distinct layer of white:
After eating my breakfast around 8 a.m., I peeked out the window from the kitchen and there was no longer a question: it was SNOWING! In Jerusalem!!!! What a rare treat and special occasion. Like the majority of my neighbors, I immediately put a winter coat over my pajamas, slipped on some UGG boots and grabbed a scarf and my camera. Out I went to check out this unbelievable sight atop Mount Scopus, one of Jerusalem's highest neighborhoods.
Yep, it was definitely snowing and I could not believe my eyes. Neither could anyone else. All those threats of snow and here it finally was. It's not that I've never seen snow before and it's not as if it was the biggest blanket of snow in the world, but there is something so special about seeing snow fall in a place it really shouldn't, like in Israel, a desert nation!
Everywhere I went around our student village, the ground was blanketed with a fine layer of powder, as were the cars and the motorcycles. Residents began to creep out of their homes to play in the snow, throw snowballs and build snowmen.
I made it to the back entrance of our student village, hoping to see Jerusalem blanketed in snow, but the hazy skies had blocked the view. It would've been so beautiful to be able to see the Old City of Jerusalem below covered in snow.
After about an hour or two, the snow quickly began to turn to slush as the snow stopped sticking to the ground. But, it did continue to snow for a few hours straight.
As you can imagine, Jerusalem residents flooded Facebook with their individual pictures of snow. Here are a few of the beautiful images you can find online at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs facebook page (click here for a link) from facebook use Roy Uhuru Hasson. How amazing to see Jerusalem's city center with snowflakes falling! A very unusual scene:
The snow was a unique treat, but like I said, I'm really ready to retire my winter coat! After all, it's March already and we're in Israel!! Spring weather should be here soon enough. You've likely heard that Europe had a colder than usual winter, so it's no surprise that Israel did too since we're on the tail end of the Mediterranean. Now, time to look forward to one of the best Israeli celebrations of the year: PURIM!!