Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas

Believe it or not, its a White Christmas in Jerusalem! Wow!
Here's the news story and some shots of familiar sites cloaked in a dusting of snow.
JERUSALEM (AFP) - A dusting of snow covered Jerusalem for the first time this winter as foul weather caused an upsurge in accidents in Israel and the Palestinian areas.

Thick snowflakes settled on the walls surrounding the Old City and covered the golden Dome of the Rock in the Al Aqsa compound on Temple Mount.

"The snow makes this a 100 percent Christmas!" said Ahmed inside his store in the Old City, where shops were closing down earlier than usual.

"It's fantastic!" added another a merchant in the open-air Mahne Yehuda market which stood deserted in the cold. Nearby, traffic on Jaffa street, Jerusalem's main traffic artery, ground to a halt.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews with plastic bags covering their tall black hats scurried the streets of Jerusalem, where snow ploughs stood by for for possible road-clearing duty.

The Hebrew university on Mount Scopus also closed down due to the heavy snow, which blocked the entrance to the campus.

Israeli weatherman Danny Roup told AFP that Wednesday's snowfall was the heaviest since 2000, when half a metre (nearly 20 inches) of snow covered the Jerusalem mountains.

"We are expecting more snow in the coming hours before midnight. Tomorrow will be very cold, but it won't snow," he said.

Snow was also reported in northern Israel as well as in some elevated areas of the Negev desert in the south, easing weeks of near-drought that had had farmers worried.

The wintry cold spell claimed its toll on the roads, with dozens of accidents reported. In the south, a tent housing a Bedouin family collapsed, injuring eight people.

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