Unusual Rainfall Floods Sharon-area Streets, Leaving Thousands Without Power

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Police officers crossing a flooded Kfar Sava street yesterday afternoon. Credit: Police spokesman’s office

Unusual amounts of rain, especially in the central Sharon region, led to widespread flooding in Ra’anana, Kfar Saba and Herzliya on Wednesday.

According to Meteo-tech meteorological services, some 70 mm of rain fell in one hour in Kfar Saba and Ra’anana, almost equaling the average monthly rainfall for November. 

Tel Aviv saw 30 mm of rain in the middle of the day yesterday, which is also high for late October which is not usually considered a rainy month.

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Commuters take cover from the rain under a bus shelter in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. Credit: AP
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Tel Aviv, October 28, 2015. Credit: David Bachar
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Tel Aviv, October 28, 2015. Credit: David Bachar

The rain caused 15,000 homes to lose power in the morning, though only 180 homes remained disconnected from the grid by nightfall.

Police received hundreds of calls from people requiring assistance, especially in Kfar Saba, Ra’anana and Herzliya. Emergency medical services also received dozens of urgent calls for help from people trapped in their homes or vehicles. 

The Herzliya and Ra’anana municipalities recommended that people remain indoors, after several roads were flooded and closed to traffic. Flooding occurred in Herzliya’s Seven Stars mall and the train station. 

Bus and train services in the Herzliya area were suspended for two hours due to the stormy weather and a major intersection in the city was closed. The civilian airfield was also shut down after meteorological equipment was damaged by lightning. 

The Electric Corporation announced that all its teams were working on an emergency basis to attend to the disruptions. “We’re back to routine problems, despite the extreme wintry conditions,” said a spokesman. 

The IEC announced earlier in the morning, just hours before the new wave of blackouts occurred, that all the damage caused by Sunday’s storm had been repaired and that power had been restored to tens of thousands of people who had been cut off since Sunday.

Residents of the Sharon area north of Tel Aviv received text messages from the IEC – while about 1,000 homes were still without power over 60 hours after the beginning of the storm and the first blackouts – in which the electric company apologized for the “inconvenience and distress” they were caused. The company blamed “extremely exceptional and rare weather” in its message.

The Public Utilities Authority – Electricity said on Tuesday that it will examine increasing the compensation electricity consumers are entitled to for having their power cut off because of this week’s weather damage. In addition, the Electricity Authority said it will also examine fining the IEC for what seems to be a violation of its obligations to customers.

The rain is expected to weaken by Thursday evening, though intermittent storms are still likely until midday Friday. The rainey weather is expected to stabilize on Saturday.