Heavy Rains, Floods Hit Galilee Region as Dry Winter Spell Breaks

Northern Israeli city of Nahariya one of the worst hit places, with sewage flooding some neighborhoods.

Eli Ashkenazi
Zafrir Rinat
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Eli Ashkenazi
Zafrir Rinat

Heavy rains swept the Galilee for several hours from Friday night to Saturday afternoon, leading to drainage problems and flooding. A rare rainfall of over 100 millimeters was recorded at Kfar Liman in the Western Galilee.

Among flooded areas were parts of the northern coastal town of Nahariya. In one neighborhood, a Magen David Adom ambulance crew had difficulty persuading an elderly man to leave his flooded ground floor apartment. Two gas canisters fell and became disconnected due to the flooding. There were no injuries.

Yitzhak Unger, the man who refused to evacuate his flooded home on Herzl Street, Nahariya, told Haaretz: “I’ve lived here for 70 years now and nothing like this has ever happened. In the morning, the sewer covers suddenly lifted up and sewage flooded the whole area and flooded my house. The water was a meter deep, really major damage.” At about 6 P.M. Saturday, municipal employees finished unclogging the sewers.

Unger’s relatives came from various parts of the country to help him dry and clean the apartment, and he returned home.

In other Galilee communities, the weather forecasting company Meteo-Tech recorded unusual levels of precipitation over a short period. Almost 40 millimeters fell at Matat and Ma’alot, and more than 70 millimeters were recorded at Kibbutz Eylon.

The dense cloud cover in the region also led to a sharp drop in the temperature over a few hours. In Safed, the mercury dropped from 19 degrees on Friday to 9 degrees Saturday.

Mount Hermon saw a small snowfall, and the site was closed to visitors. The Golan Heights city of Katzrin and the Kinneret area had relatively meager rainfall – 12 millimeters – compared to the Western Galilee.

Less than 10 millimeters were recorded in Jerusalem and the southern Coastal Plain.

Local showers will persist into Monday, with a chance of flooding in the Negev and Arava deserts. The rain will peter out Monday afternoon and temperatures will gradually rise later in the week. Another bout of rainy weather is not in the offing at the moment.

The rainy, cold weekend comes after one of the driest winters in Israel’s history, according to the Meteorological Service – a season that began with a powerful storm in December.

That storm, the worst in 22 years, dropped 70 centimeters of snow in Jerusalem, blocked roads to various cities and left some 60,000 households without electricity.

A firefighter tacking the flooding in NahariyaCredit: Nati Hajjaj
A flooded neighborhood of Nahariya.Credit: Nati Hajjaj

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