We didn't know that the worst snowstorm in some 150 years was heading our way. The first snow fell on Thursday morning, but then the storm struck in force overnight, knocking out our power and leaving us without heat as well. We assumed the electricity would go back on right away, but another night of heavy snow hit us.
We are just now recovering from four days without power and heating and beginning to deal with the severe damage caused to our house by a falling tree and a leaking roof.
|Moshav Neve Ilan|
Although equipped with snow plows and heavy machinery, Jerusalem is not a city prepared for snow. When the snow begins to fall, the entire city shuts down. Buses stop running, schools are closed, and even the new light rail system shuts down. The roads leading into the city are closed off, because of the icy conditions and the many cars that get stuck along the way. This hampers the passage of emergency vehicles, especially those of the Electric Company that need to deal with power shortages that left some 35,000 households around the country in the dark.
My wife and I live on Moshav Neve Ilan, about 15 kilometers to the west of Jerusalem. Our elevation is much lower than Jerusalem. Many times when snow falls in Jerusalem, we are unaffected. Many families on the moshav heat their homes with kerosene or gas, but our main heating source is electricity. After all, who would expect that the power would be out for four days?
|Street scene in Neve Ilan|
The force of the storm's winds knocked over many trees on the moshav and elsewhere around the country, and this brought down electric lines. In our backyard, our big tree was split in half, and some of it fell on our roof. The branch that held our granddaughter's swing was thrown to the ground.
|Wires and trees down, blocking a sidewalk near our house.|
Against my wife's strong protests, I went onto the snow-covered roof and made sure that the drains were clear. I also scooped off a lot of snow, creating paths for the slush to reach the drains when it melted.
Our most serious problem, though, was seeing our cellular phone batteries run out. We didn't have mobile phones during the storm of 1992, but now this is the only way to communicate with our family members and work colleagues. My wife's i-Phone battery was depleted quickly, but a neighbor recharged it for her in his car. Whenever we received phone calls from concerned friends we responded quickly, "No electricity, low battery, but we're OK." And we saved what little was left of the battery for even greater emergencies.
|Many trees were knocked down by the strong winds and heavy snow|
I'm sure that there are those who suffered more than we did during Jerusalem's Snowstorm of the Century, but still, this was an experience that we didn't enjoy.