Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More wild winter weather in Jerusalem - and maybe snow!

Another windy, stormy cold front has hit Israel, heralded yesterday and earlier today by the famed "ovekh" that I like so much (the adjective is avikh). The sky was a very peculiar brownish-white color this morning.

I'm sitting in the National Library listening to the wind gusts and the rain falling on the skylights. This is the first time I've been here in a week - I injured my left knee last week and have had a hard time walking, but I'm feeling better today. According to the Jerusalem weather forecast on Yerushamayim, we might get snow in Jerusalem late tonight and on Friday all day. The expectation is for no more than 5 mm of snow - not much.

Hebrew has a lot of words for different kinds of rain - the yoreh (יורה) is the first rain of the season, in the fall, and the malkosh (מלקוש) is the last rain in the spring. On the Yerushamayim site someone commented that in the Old City there is gishmei bracha (גשמי ברכה) - rain of blessings, strong but not too strong. We also have geshem meorav (גשם מעורב) - mixed rain, either with hail (ברד or barad) or snow (in Ithaca we call this a "wintry mix"). When snow falls it can be mixed with rain, or it can be שלג נקי (sheleg naqi) - "clean snow," or just snow, unmixed with anything else. In addition to hail, there is also גראופל (graupel). What is graupel? According to Wikipedia, it is "also called soft hail or snow pellets," and it refers to "precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on a falling snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm (0.079–0.197 in) ball of rime."

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