02/18/2021, 10.01
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Bethlehem, snow covers houses and streets. And blocks Covid vaccinations

For the first time in six years, the city woke up covered in a white blanket this morning. A rare event, but not unusual in the area and favoured by a low pressure front of polar origin. For the next few hours rain and lower temperatures are expected. The vaccination center postpones the appointments until tomorrow.

Bethlehem (AsiaNews) - A white blanket - a rare but not impossible event - has covered the city of Bethlehem (in the photo), the result of the snow that fell from yesterday evening until dawn today in the region.

The flakes have accumulated on the roofs of houses and on the streets, forming a mantle in some places up to 25 centimetres thick. The phenomenon has affected much of the Palestinian Territories, with mountains covered with the soft veil in Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Nablus, as well as the city where - according to tradition - Jesus Christ was born.

For meteorologists interviewed by the Palestinian agency Maan, it is the first time in the last six years that such abundant snowfall has been recorded, with accumulations of thick coverings and over vast areas. An event favoured by the temperatures dropped below zero on the top of the peaks and which favoured the formation of snow.

The phenomenon was caused by a low pressure of polar origin that hit Palestine yesterday and which should prolong its effects for a few more hours. More snow is expected at an altitude of over 900 meters, while temperatures remain just above zero, with a maximum of 7 and a minimum of 5 degrees in Bethlehem (and Jerusalem).

For tomorrow, however, there should be a reversal of the trend, with a rise in temperature in the higher states of the biosphere, which will lead to the formation of showers of rain and hail, which will melt the white mantle as the hours pass. Cold and unstable weather is still expected for the next few days, with possible rains, even of strong intensity locally, for both 19 and 20 February.

In the context of a global pandemic the snow is an inconvenience to the Palestinians' vaccination campaign, which is already far behind Israel, the world leader in immunizations. The public health office in Bethlehem has cancelled all appointments scheduled today at the Covid-19 vaccination centre, rescheduling them for tomorrow afternoon.

“We are asking everyone with a Thursday appointment to make every effort to come to the clinic on Friday, as we aren’t able to guarantee appointments for future clinics,” the bureau said due to an already busy schedule in the face of limited resources.

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