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Jerusalem, Expecting Blanket of Snow, Gears Up for Winter Storm Elpis

Jerusalem and its environs were battening down the hatches on Wednesday in preparation for a winter storm expected to bring up to 8 inches of snow to the holy city. Snowstorms in the capital are a rare, but not unheard of, occurrence. The expected snow is part of the winter storm Elpis, the fifth named storm by the newly formed East Mediterranean Storm Naming Group, made up of Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The storm, which has already blown through Turkey, was named by Greece, in honor of the Greek Spirit of Hope. Schools and COVID-19 testing sites in Jerusalem, as well as in the Etzion bloc located further south but at a higher elevation, closed early on Wednesday and were set to remain closed on Thursday. Snow began to fall on Wednesday morning in the Golan Heights in northern Israel with an expected 16 inches of snow by Friday. The Mount Hermon ski resort in the Golan reported on Wednesday morning that 8 inches of snow fell overnight. Meanwhile, officials warned of flash floods in the Judean Desert and Dead Sea region. Heavy rain and freezing temperatures are also expected across the rest of the country through the end of the week.