Torrential downpours, strong winds and lightning displays heralded to residents of the North and Center that winter was on its way Tuesday, but the storm clouds also brought tragedy when a young man was killed by a bolt of lightning while fishing on Achziv Beach.
The 21-year-old resident of Sheikh Dannun, Amim Kassem Subbah, was standing on the beach with his father and younger brother when the lighting struck him in his right shoulder, passing through his entire body and exiting through his left leg. MDA teams rushed to the scene, but the young man did not respond to 20 minutes' worth of attempts to resuscitate him, and he was pronounced dead.
Fatal lightning strikes in Israel are relatively rare; the last time someone was killed here as a result of lightning was in 1991.
The stormy weather also took a toll on Israel's roads in the afternoon hours. On Route 85, near the Tzyklon junction between Karmiel and Acre, a bus rear-ended a truck and then overturned on the descent toward Acre, lightly injuring 20 of the bus's passengers. They were taken by MDA teams to the Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. Four people were also lightly injured after a tree fell on their vehicle in Petah Tikva. Rescue teams dispatched to the scene delivered them from the wreckage.
The Israel Meteorological Service issued a warning to drivers that "there is a danger of skidding on the roads" and requested that drivers "slow their traveling speeds on wet roads and avoid as much as possible sudden stops and sharp turns."
Flood warnings were also issued, with high water possible in roads on the coastal plain and flash flood risks in low-lying areas. The rains, which had been pouring in impressive quantities particularly on the coastal plain, were expected to reach the northern Negev by Wednesday.
One place where the rainfall was welcome was in the Galilee, where Lake Kinneret currently stands at 212.64 meters below sea level - far below the so-called "red line." But the largest amounts of rainfall were registered on the coast - Zichron Ya'acov reported a 24-hour rainfall of 58 mm., Tel Aviv reported 46 mm. and Safed reported 33 mm.
As of Tuesday evening, there were still some areas that had yet to feel the brunt - or the benefit - of the storms, despite forecasts. While the Jerusalem skies grew cloudy and the wind picked up in the early evening, the pavement in the capital city remained mostly dry well into the nighttime hours.
Hope nevertheless remained for significant rainfall on Wednesday, as forecasts called for occasional rain accompanied by thunderstorms, hail and gusting winds from the North of the country to the northern Negev.
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