Heavy weekend rains drench Israel

Over a meter of snow falls on Mount Hermon, Kinneret level rises 7.5 cm.

December 24, 2005 12:37
4 minute read.
snow in jerusalem 298.88

snow in jerusalem 224.88. (photo credit: Daniel Baron)

After a stormy weekend throughout the country, Jerusalem residents were disappointed to find that they would not be waking up to a white Hanukka eve. Still, Israelis could take comfort in the fact that the weekend's storms were replenishing water levels across the country that had been depleted in the last month's hot, dry spell. (Snapped a great winter image on your digital camera? Send it to [email protected] and we'll post it on our web site and possibly feature it in our print edition.) As of Sunday morning, a seven-and-a-half-centimeter increase was recorded in the water level of Lake Kinneret. The lake's level had dropped a few centimeters during the unusually long and warm dry spell that Israel experienced in recent weeks. Lake Kinneret, which serves as Israel's primary source of potable water, is still slightly less than three meters short of its maximal level. Army Radio forecasters informed the capital city's residents early Sunday morning that previous predictions of a snowy Sunday were unfounded, and that the storm system that had brought snow to the Hermon and Golan peaks would not dust Jerusalem's streets. Still, road crews had been prepared for the worst over the weekend, as the city readied snowplows and salt trucks in case their services will be needed. Likewise, police and fire-fighting services held their emergency crews on call throughout the weekend to keep main traffic routes open in case of emergency. In light of the chilly temperatures, Jerusalem's municipality was also taking measures to assist the homeless and provide city residents with supplies should the snow shut down transportation. On Saturday, heavy rainfall caused floods in many parts of Israel, especially in Haifa and the Galilee. Several vehicles were trapped beneath the train bridge in the city because of the high water level. Similar flooding occurred on the road between the Kiryat Ata and Stadium junctions as well as at the Checkpost intersection and Fureidis junction near Zichron Ya'acov. In the northern coastal city of Nahariya, several roads were closed when the Ga'aton River that runs through the city's main thoroughfare flooded its concrete-reinforced banks. A lane in the Lod Road, connecting the Krayot area and Acre, was likewise shut down. Damage was also caused in the central region, with the road between Ramat Hakovesh and Kfar Saba closed because of flooding. A tree in Kiryat Ono was blown down by the wind and crushed three cars. The heavy rains also deluged streets in Ra'anana. Rescue services were called to evacuate 18 elderly people after the first floor of their retirement home was inundated with water. Army Radio said unusually high levels of rain were recorded, with 30-50 mm falling northward of Haifa since Friday alone. Meanwhile, a meter of snow piled on the peaks of Mount Hermon site on Saturday. The Israeli Meteorological Center reported that snowstorms would continue through Monday on the 2100-meter-high slopes, but that the snow would stop falling Sunday at the cable-car base, which is situated at a an altitude of 1650 meters and received about 60 centimeters of snow Saturday. While the site had not yet opened to the public, it was expected to open by Tuesday, said site manager Menachem Baruch.

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