Rain clouds? Maybe, maybe not.
Rain clouds? Maybe, maybe not. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz
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September is nearing its end and the days are getting shorter. The breeze is getting cooler and the blazing sun is now starting to get obscured by what Israelis hope are rain clouds. And they may well be. Fact is, the first rains of the upcoming winter have already fallen, or rather dripped desultorily, but they did arrive.

Israel definitely has a rainy season, but it's an amorphous beast. Generally speaking, summer in Israel is dry and winter is wet, but there are exceptions, and the season itself behaves somewhat sporadically.

It may rain in September and October, or it may not. There's no telling if November and December will be cold and wet or chilly and dry. The best advice for tourists is to pack for all eventualities and once here, track the weather forecasts on a daily basis.

All eventualities means it may be blazing hot or quite cool, though it won't be freezing cold, and it may or may not rain.

For instance, the local forecast for the next seven days, through to October 1, is sunny, with a hiatus of cloudy weather on Shabbat. But forecasters say there is a very low 18 percent probability of some rain on Shabbat and even a slight chance of precipitation on Sunday. If you're already here, do consult the forecast before planning that hike on Saturday.

Buying an umbrella

You could bring an umbrella with you to Israel. But with today's luggage costs, you might prefer to pick one up locally.

Yes, Israel has umbrellas and they aren't that costly. Moreover, as the weather worsens you can pick one at practically any kiosk.

You can get one for as little as NIS 10. It will keep you dry but will probably be a flimsy thing that crumples in the first gust of wind. Sturdier umbrellas will cost anywhere from NIS 25 to NIS 60, depending on quality, location and maybe the weather – you may wonder if the price didn't just climb because there's a cloud-break.