Pedestrians brave the rain in Jerusalem.
Pedestrians brave the rain in Jerusalem, January 31, 2013. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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February and March this year were the driest for the past 50 years and overturned the country's precipitation balance, which had looked promising at the beginning of winter, Israel Water Authority and Israel Meteorological Service figures show

Last month was one of the warmest Marches since climate measuring began in Israel, with temperatures climbing 2-4 degrees higher than the multi-year average for this month, the Meteorological Service said. The meager rainfall was only 20-40 milliliters in the north, compared to a multi-year average of 90-120 milliliters.

The rainfall in February was the lowest recorded in the past 70 years, with the exception of the winter of 1958. However, the Water Authority said this winter's rain quantity totaled 109 percent compared to the multi-year average.

In the Kinneret area the rainfall was 114 percent compared to the multi-year average, due to the rains that fell at the beginning of winter and also raised the lake's water level.

The largest precipitation quantity (1,270 milliliters) was measured at the lower station of the Mount Hermon ski slope cable car. In Kibbutz Ma'abarot in the Sharon Plain the rainfall totaled 122 percent compared to the average.

The sharp rise in the Kinneret's water level in December-January slowed down in February due to the cessation of rainfall. In March the level rose by only 23 centimeters.

Altogether, the rains added 454 million cubic meters of water to the Kinneret, leaving its level 1.5 meters higher than it was last March.

Meanwhile, the Dead Sea level sank another 4 centimeters last month.