Rare hail storm hits Tel Aviv

The sudden burst of hail came after intermittent rain had peppered the city throughout the morning hours.

April 13, 2015 00:11
3 minute read.
Israel weather

Large hail in northern Israel. (photo credit: ISRAEL FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY SPOKESMAN)

Incessant rain poured over much of Israel and snow piled up on northern peaks, as unseasonably wintry weather continued on Sunday.

Precipitation was particularly heavy over the past three days in the North, with more than 100 millimeters of rain at some weather stations in the Carmel area and the Western Galilee from Friday through Sunday afternoon, the Israel Meteorological Service said. About 20 centimeters of snow accumulated on Mount Hermon on the northern Golan Heights and additional snow on Mount Meron, the highest peak of the Upper Galilee.

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Other areas in the North received 50 to 90 millimeters of rain, while 30 to 60 mm. drenched the central coast, the IMS said. The central mountains and northern valleys received about 20 to 40 mm. of rain, and five to 10 mm. fell in the northern Negev.

Lake Kinneret’s (the Sea of Galilee’s) water level was 211.825 meters below sea level on Sunday morning, still 3.025 meters below the “upper red line,” the line that indicates full capacity, according to the Water Authority.

The weather was so uncharacteristically frigid on Sunday that in the past 65 years, such low daytime temperatures in April were measured only in 1990 and 1997, the IMS said.

In Beit Dagan, near Rishon Lezion, where the IMS office is, the maximum temperature was 15°, compared to the average for this time of year of 24°. In Jerusalem, the maximum temperature reached only 9°, while the average high for this season is 21.5°.

As heavy rain continued all day, a sudden burst of hail pounded Tel Aviv for several minutes at around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

In the Dead Sea region, which was experiencing flooding, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority closed Hatzatzon, Tur, Tmarim, Qumran and Og. Also due to flooding, the Israel Police closed down the area’s main artery, Route 90, near Ein Bokek and Metzukei Dragot in the late morning, reopening the road in the late afternoon.

In Beit Shemesh on Sunday afternoon, the Israel Police reported the collapse of a tree on a wooden pole supporting high-voltage electricity lines.

In the North, heavy traffic clogged Route 65 in the direction of Umm el-Fahm, with only one of two lanes open, the police said.

“In general, rainfall in April, even in significant quantities, is not abnormal,” Dr. Amos Porat, director of the IMS climate department, said. “Two years ago – April 16-21, 2013 – several dozen millimeters fell across the country.

However, an event with wintry features including heavy rain, snow on northern peaks and low temperatures is unusual in April, and in the past 50 to 60 years, an event of a similar or more significant order occurred only three or four times.”

Among the three such events was April 11-18, 1971, when more than 200 millimeters of rain pounded the North, accompanied by low temperatures, the IMS said. A second was a similarly rainy, but slightly less cold, storm on April 11-15, 1997, while the third was a colder incident but with significant rainfall predominantly affecting the North, on April 5-10, 1997.

The IMS forecast partly cloudy conditions on Monday, with isolated showers possible over the North to the northern Negev.

Temperatures are expected to rise slightly, but still remain unseasonably cold.

On Tuesday, there will likely be partly cloudy skies and continued unseasonably cool weather, as well as a chance for light rain, the IMS said.

On Wednesday, partly cloudy conditions are expected to be accompanied by a slight rise in temperatures, though still remaining slightly below the seasonal average. Isolated showers may occur in the east of the country, with a risk of flooding in the streams in this region, the IMS predicted.

For Thursday, the IMS forecast partly cloudy skies and more isolated showers, with continued risk of flash floods in both eastern and southern streams.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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