First Rain of the Year Falls on Israel

Flooding in streambeds in Israel's south feared.

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
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Be'er Sheva, October 27, 2016.
Be'er Sheva, October 27, 2016.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

A combination of warm air from the Red Sea and high humidity originating from the equator has brought with it the first rain of the year on Thursday. The first rain of the year ending Israel's prolonged dry season is called the 'yo-RE' in Hebrew.

Thursday in Israel was initially hot and dry, but soon turned into a rainy day, and even stormy in the south. The rain is expected to continue overnight, possibly into Friday afternoon.

According to the forecasting company Meteo-Tech, temperatures during the day were higher than usual, with 33 degrees Celsius in the Shfela and 29 degrees Celsius in the coastal area. Rain clouds started forming before noon in different regions, and rain fell in the north and then spread to the south. Although this was in small quantities, there is a still risk that they will cause flooding of streams.

Rain and winds intensified in recent hours in the south, with sandstorms near Mitzpe Ramon and Ovda.

A sandstorm in Be'er Sheva, October 27, 2016.Credit: Yakir Sultzman

On Friday, rain may still fall until noon and temperatures are expected to drop. Saturday will not be rainy and temperatures are expected to be normal for the season. Sunday and Monday will be cold and there is a chance of light local rain.

Over the next few days Israel’s area will come under the influence of a Red Sea front, a climatic phenomenon that’s typical of October and is characterized by a flow of warm air at low altitudes from the Red Sea. This, combined with the moist air from the equator in the upper levels of the atmosphere, leads to the development of rain clouds.

It is feared that the rain could include downpours that will cause flooding in the area’s streambeds, but temperatures will rise because of the incoming warm air. In the afternoon the rain may spread to the center and north, with possible lightning and thunderstorms.

There may be another bout of rain in the middle of next week; if so it would be a weather event more typical of early winter. Cold air arriving from Eastern Europe would bring markedly lower temperatures and help rain clouds develop when it encounters the relatively warm sea. However, this is not yet a firm and accurate forecast.

View from the roof of the Haaretz building shows the first rain of the year falling on Tel Aviv.Credit: Ruth Schuster
A rare flood in the usually dry Be'er Sheva River.Credit: Yitzhal Elharar

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