Heavy rains in Eilat damage nature reserve
Flooding hits Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve; IMS predicts wet start to winter, average overall amount of seasonal rainfall.
FLOODWATERS FLOW through a barren area. Photo: Tomer Oferi
The heavy rains that drenched the Eilat mountains and southern Arava region on
Sunday night led to the flooding of the Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve, the
Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) said on Monday.
Over the course
of the night, park workers evacuated animals that were in danger of drowning,
and others worked all night to rebuild fences that had collapsed during the
By Tuesday, the nature reserve will be open as usual to visitors,
an INPA statement said.
Despite the damage caused to the nature reserve,
the rains brought with them “many blessings” as they watered the acacia trees –
which are “a source of life in the desert” – and created a “rare, breathtaking
site,” according to the INPA.
“The desert is now beautiful and gleaming,
and this is the best time to hike in it and to enjoy the rich and spectacular
landscape it has to offer,” said Doron Nissim, the Eilat district manager at the
Although Eilat will not likely receive such a storm again in the
next few days, the Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) did predict isolated
rains for the country’s North and along its coastal plain on Monday night, with
scattered showers on Tuesday morning.
Wednesday will likely be partly
cloudy and overcast, while Thursday and Friday may bring in isolated and
scattered showers in the country’s North and Center respectively, according to
For the first time, the IMS this winter season will be employing
a more detailed seasonal forecast mechanism issued by the European Center for
Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), IMS Director Hania Berkowitz explained
in a statement.
Unlike former seasonal forecasts of IMS that have been
based on statistical calculations, the European forecasting model is based on
running a dynamic model of the atmosphere, at a horizontal resolution of 75
kilometers per month and executing the model 51 times under different
conditions, Berkowitz explained. The model divides predictions into three
categories – dry years, wet years and average years.
Based on the new
model, IMS has determined that the cumulative rainfall during this year’s main
winter months (December, January and February) will be in the average category.
There is a probability of 41 percent that this period will feature average
amounts of precipitation, a probability of 28% that it will be a dry period and
probability of 31% that it will be a particularly rainy period.
the beginning of the season (November through January) will be relatively wet,
according to the IMS.
IMS will continue to update its figures monthly,
following the ECMWF model, the organization assured.
“It is our duty to
reiterate, every year, that the level of accuracy of seasonal forecasts is still
relatively low,” Berkowitz said.