The “Snowstorm of the Century” fell on Jerusalem from Thursday, December 12, 2013 to Shabbat, Saturday, December 14. More than 20” of snow fell in downtown Jerusalem and affected the city and surrounding areas with many roads left impassable. The city typically sees one or two flurries a year but serious blizzards of this nature are a rarity and the municipality doesn’t maintain the infrastructure to deal with such events.
Nonetheless, Shaare Zedek Medical Center continued to provide its customary high level of service for the city’s people, delivering 150 babies during the blizzard and caring for a large number of people who suffered storm-related injuries.
Maintenance teams were in place and ready to respond when the snow began to fall. Crews worked to ensure that the access routes within the hospital campus were kept clear and the Hospital coordinated efforts with the police and rescue services to try and keep major access routes to the hospital as clear as possible.
One of the primary logistical challenges was getting the core staff members to the hospital and getting others home. On occasion this proved impossible and some staff members rode out the three-day storm at the hospital with many working multiple shifts, taking breaks whenever they could.
In the wake of the storm, unusually frigid conditions led to widespread icing around the city. With few snow shovels or salt to melt the snow, many Jerusalemites trying to return to their daily routines on Monday, December 16, instead found themselves arriving at the Weinstock Department of Emergency Medicine on the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Floor to be examined and treated by orthopedists after falling on the ice.
By the following day, the bustling “business as usual” pace had returned to Jerusalem’s more >