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After six months in which Lake Kinneret shrunk every single day, the water level finally remained stable yesterday, at 214.25 meters below sea level.

However, this does not indicate that the worrisome trend has reversed, warned Uri Shor, a spokesman for the Water Authority. "Unfortunately, the Kinneret is likely to continue to fall," he said. "We need to hope for many more rainy days like those of the last two days - and of course, to continue saving water."

Shor attributed the Kinneret's temporary stability to several factors: reduced pumping, rainfall directly over the lake, and a very low level of evaporation, due to the cloudy and relatively cold weather.

But according to Pinhas Green of the Kinneret Administration, "the rain barely had an impact. The reason is the reduced pumping. We need to remember that the water economy is still in great distress."

Nevertheless, the forecasts have become slightly less pessimistic: They now predict that the water level will fall by another 15 centimeters, rather than 62, as previously expected.

The lake is still 1.25 meters below its lower red line. To fill up completely, it would have to rise by another 5.45 meters.

"Today [Monday], there was very heavy rain in the western Galilee region, [Mount] Meron and Safed, and runoff began in these areas," commented Hillel Glazman of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. "However, almost no water ran into the Kinneret. The weather forecasts for the near future do not promise additional days of rain, so the water level of the Kinneret is likely to continue to fall."

In Safed, the heavy rain, which fell for about two hours in the afternoon, caused major traffic jams, and the police were eventually forced to close several major intersections in the city.