Snow-covered Dome of the Rock 370.
(photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
While most heavy precipitation and winds had subsided by nightfall on Thursday,
stormy weather continued – for the sixth day in a row – to pound Israel for the
brunt of the morning and afternoon.
All in all, at least 14 people have
died in the winter storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority
and another three in Israel. With the torrential rains and winds that swept the
region for nearly a week, meteorological agencies in both Israel and Lebanon
have called the storm the worst in 20 years.
A deluge of rain flooded
homes all over Israel throughout the week, with between 150 and 250 millimeters
accumulating in the country’s North and Center – and some areas even receiving
up to 300 millimeters, according to the Israel Meteorological
The northern portion of the Jordan Valley was hit significantly,
with between 130 and 150 mm.; the southern portion received more than 70 mm.,
IMS data said. Northern Negev areas received between 40 and 70 mm., while the
central Negev received between 25 and 40 mm. The southern desert regions,
however, were also ravaged by dust storms.
“Such rainfall in one
continuous six to seven day stretch is rare, and in the past 50 years, such
incidents only occurred a few times,” a statement from the IMS
After continued heavy rains, Lake Kinneret’s (the Sea of
Galilee’s) water level stood at 211.20 meters below sea level, a 14-centimeter
rise from Wednesday morning. In total, the water level rose 73 cm. during the
string of stormy days – an increase that is unparalleled in the last 10 or 20
years, the Water Authority said. Due to the strong flows in the streams that
feed into the Kinneret, the lake is expected to rise about another 50 cm. by the
end of January and should be about 2 meters away from full capacity. The amount
of water added to the Kinneret in the month of January alone should amount to
about 200 million cubic meters total, the Water Authority added.
week-long storm system culminated in piles of snow – with the capital receiving
between 10 and 20 cm.
between Wednesday night and Thursday
In addition to the snowfall that saddled Jerusalem from Wednesday night into Thursday, much of the country’s
North also found itself buried in a winter wonderland – oftentimes unable to go
to work and school. Mount Hermon consistently received snow throughout the
entire storm system, but the rest of the Golan Heights and the Galilee had snow
predominantly on Wednesday, the IMS said.
Although the northern Golan
received up to 25 cm., the remainder of the Golan and the Upper Galilee had only
about 10 cm., the IMS data said. In the early morning, Negev cities Dimona and
Sde Boker also received snow.
While roads had closed down in the morning
in the North and near Jerusalem, by the afternoon most traffic was moving as
normal, as the force of the storm began to taper.
Ten kindergartens and
three schools were shut down for the day in Merom Hagalil, as well as two
schools in the Upper Galilee and four in the Golan Heights Druse
Most schools in Safed and the Golan Heights region were open,
as were all schools in Haifa.
In the Jerusalem area, there was no school
in the city itself, or in Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba, Beit El, Har Adar and
Mevaseret Zion. Several Samarian settlement schools were closed, as were those
of communities in the Tamar region, Ein Gedi, Dimona and Ramat
Most Palestinian schools were also closed throughout the West
Bank, according to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, which reported heavy
flooding that damaged hundreds of homes.
Agricultural areas, particularly
in the country’s North, were also ravaged by the storm, with about 2,000
hectares of crop fields destroyed in the Hula Valley alone, according to the
Upper Galilee Regional Council.
Tel Aviv, which had faced a deluge of
floods throughout the week, had a much lighter Thursday, receiving only about
4.6 millimeters of rain in its city center, compared to the 130- mm. total for
All in all, the city’s workers handled 1,680 weather-related
incidents during the six days of storms – 110 flooded apartments, four flooded
shelters, 176 flooded yards, three flooded businesses, 508 fallen trees and
branches, 80 road obstacle removals, 143 fallen traffic lights and signs, 59
potholes, 142 damaged antennas, 30 sewage issues, 40 fallen building parts or
fences, 25 torn power cables, 83 other electricity issues, 208 problematic road
puddles, six road erosion incidents, 44 objects toppling from rooftops, nine
broken or loosened street lamps and 10 street sign glitches, the municipality
Although the brunt of the storm itself ended, due to the continued
strong flow of streams and rivers throughout the country, the Israel Nature and
Parks Authority warned the public that it is prohibited to cross these waterways
and that nature reserves will still be extremely muddy and flooded.
visitors must also be aware that pedestrian paths will be very slippery, the
Many hiking paths have been temporarily closed due to the
weather, such as Guvta, Hazori, Orvim, Gilbon, Zaki, El Al, Tenanim and Metzar
streams. It is safe, however, to hike in Tel Dan, Banias and the Nimrod Fortress
National Park, according to Yossi Friedman, director of safety and fire
prevention at the INPA. Also safe – and open at 50 percent of the normal
entrance fee – are Yehudiya, Zavitan waterfall, Majrase and the Hexagon Stream,
Some areas of the country continued to receive localized
power outages on Thursday – including portions of Jerusalem, Herzliya, Gush
Etzion, Ramat Hasharon, Or Akiva, Haifa and Tel Aviv, Israel Electric
Corporation said. Much of these glitches were caused by trees that collapsed on
power lines and issues were resolved quickly, an IEC statement
Overnight and into Friday morning, there will still be a risk of
icy road conditions in the northern, central and Negev mountains, according to
On Friday, skies will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated
light rain in the north and along the coast, while temperatures will rise
slightly but remain unseasonably cold. Saturday will likely feature partly
cloudy skies and an additional rise in temperature with strong east winds, the
Danielle Ziri and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this
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