After a very wet November and an especially dry December, Israel was bracing itself for the first winter storm of 2015.
Occasional rain was forecast to fall on Saturday in the north and the center of the country with snow on Mount Hermon. The rain was expected to strengthen over the course of the day and spread to the northern Negev and the Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) warned of floods in the Judean Desert and Dead Sea areas. Isolated thunderstorms and cooler than average temperatures were forecast.
Temperatures were cool on Saturday morning across Israel with the mercury dropping to 5 degrees Celsius in the southern Arava and six degrees in the northern Golan and in Safed. Haifa and Tel Aviv were warmer at 11 degrees with Jerusalem and Beersheba standing at 8.
November 2014 was the rainiest November in Israel in the last twenty years, with some areas breaking even older records. Jerusalem did not experience a wetter November since 1892. But December was the driest December since 1993 with warmer than average temperatures for the month. Nonetheless, at the start of the new year, because of the the large amounts of rain in November, much of the country had received average to above average amounts of rain for the season so far.
The forecast for Sunday was for colder than average temperatures with occasional rain in the north and the center of the country and snow again forecast on Mount Hermon and possible flooding in the south. IMS said Monday would be partly cloudy with isolated showers in the north and a rise in temperatures. On Tuesday, occasional showers were forecast in the north with isolated light rain along the coast. Strong winds and sandstorms were forecast for the south.
Although snow was not expected to fall in Jerusalem over the weekend, some forecasters predicted snow in the capital for later in the week.
Temperatures for Saturday in Jerusalem were expected to reach a high of 11 and Tel Aviv was forecast to be warmer at 16.