Expected 'medicane' storm forces hiking trails, music festival to close

The weather report stated that there would be local rainfall along with thunderstorms and hail in the south and on the mountaintops.

Lightning strikes at Ramon airport in Eilat.
A series of strong thunderstorms, and not a tropical storm, hit Israel after several southern hiking trails and the Indinegev Music Festival were cleared out due to fears of an intense tropical storm that was predicted to hit the region.
"There was a tropical storm in the Mediterranean Sea of the kind that later becomes a hurricane, [as we usually see] in the United States," an Israeli meteorologist said. "It was in the Mediterranean Sea, directly in our region which is highly unusual, [but] it reached us in a very weakened form that does not match the definition [of a tropical storm] anymore."
Although the storm was not as aggressive as initially predicted throughout the weekend, it nevertheless began on Saturday afternoon with rains throughout the entire country.
The storms led to a widespread power failure in northern Tel Aviv in the late evening and into the night.

Weather radars showed on Saturday evening that around 1,600 lightning strikes have occurred around central Israel within the span of a single hour.
 
Although the storm as of yet was neither unusual nor extreme, as forecasters originally predicted, the meteorological behavior of the storm hitting Israel is nonetheless "something that is incredibly rare this far east in the Mediterranean," according to the UK Met Office on Twitter.
The fire department prepared itself for the stormy weather that was expected over the weekend, stating that special units were instructed to be on full alert next to places at high risk of floods.
The electric company prepared itself, as well, saying that the expected weather led to reinforcement of the call center and certain units in the field.
The weather report stated that there would be local rainfall along with thunderstorms and hail in the south and on the mountaintops. Southern and eastern rivers were expected to flood, as well.
The term "medicane" is a combination of "Mediterranean" and "hurricane."
On Friday, the state declared a state of emergency that remained in effect until Saturday evening.
As of late Thursday afternoon, the medicane spanned a 300-mile width across the extreme eastern Mediterranean Sea and was parked roughly 100 miles south-southwest of Cyprus, according to The Washington Post.

Ezra Taylor contributed to this report.