Heavy Rains Fill Jordan River, Flood Nahariya

The Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights saw heavy rain all day yesterday, bringing the water flow in the Jordan River and its tributaries to volumes that hadn't been seen in many years, and drawing visitors to the north.

Guy Yermak, of Kfar Blum Kayaks on the Jordan River, said flooding had swept into part of the starting and ending points of the kayak route. However, the flooding promised a good summer kayak season, he said.

Mount Hermon is now covered with a thin blanket of snow.

Tourist businesses in the north are preparing for another kind of flood - of visitors coming to see the streams. Meir Levy, chairman of the Galilee Tourism Forum, said accommodations were at 75 percent occupancy.

"The rain is good for tourism, good for farming and best of all for the soul," said Sharon Yavzuri, of Mitzpeh Hashalom in Kibbutz Kfar Haruv in the southern Golan Heights.

Haimkeh Hod, a Metulla farmer, said the downpour had filled the nearby Ayun Stream.

"I hope my prophecy will come true and the Degania dam will open," Hod said, referring to the dam at the southern end of the Kinneret, which is opened only on the rare occasions when the lake level rises precipitously.

The effect of the rains on the water economy cannot be gauged, however: Due to the strike by the Water Authority, now in its eighth week, the level of the Kinneret is not being measured.

Jerusalem got very little rain yesterday compared to the previous days.

According to the Environmental Protection Ministry, the rain brought pollution to the Kishon Stream: The Haifa oil refineries received permission to empty their rainwater drainage tanks, which also contain some oil, into the Kishon.

The Meteotek forecasting service said about 70 millimeters of rain fell in Haifa yesterday, 59 in Netanya and 44 in the Kinneret drainage basin. South of Tel Aviv there was practically no rainfall. The rain will taper off today but warmer weather will arrive only tomorrow.