Some regions in Israel have seen more rain over the past month than they usually do in the course of an entire season, according to data from the Israel Meteorological Service.
According to the weather service, Monday will see isolated rainfall with a chance of isolated thunderstorms in the north and center, with the temperature dropping to "unseasonably cold” levels. The mercury should rise again by Wednesday, with rain returning on Friday and through the weekend.
Since the beginning of the rainy season, the southern city of Eilat has received 135 percent of its annual average rainfall, while the Tel Aviv coast received 124 percent, with a cumulative total of 337 mm (13 inches) of precipitation. The country’s center was hit the hardest by a series of recent winter storms, with Beit Dagan and Lod receiving 114 and 117 percent of their normal rainfall as of January 28.
Jerusalem received 65 percent of full season normal rainfall while Kvuzat Yavneh, farther south, received 108 percent. Ashdod Port received 93 percent and in the north, Kibbutz Elon on the Lebanon border received 75 percent while Haifa received a comparable 76 percent.
Overall, the country has received 337 mm (13 inches) of total rainfall this season, constituting 65 percent of full season normal, the IMS reported.
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Israel was battered by winter storm Elpis last week, which brought rain and snow across the country, briefly shutting down roads leading into Jerusalem. Elpis ushered in almost eight inches of snow to the city while the northern Golan Heights and Mount Hermon saw 20 to 40 centimeters (7 to 15 inches). The Galilee area got only five to 10 centimeters of snow.
On average, Jerusalem sees 10 to 15 centimeters of snow only every few years, making this year’s snowfall unusual. The last time Jerusalem saw this much snow was in February 2015. Two years earlier, in December 2013, there was a much larger snowfall. Last February, after six years with no snow at all, 10 centimeters descended on the city.
In Israel, plummeting temperatures and heavy rain have led to multiple rescues and at least one known death since the beginning of the winter. Two weeks ago, emergency services were dispatched to rescue stranded motorists from flooded streets in the Tel Aviv area. Near the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron, first responders rescued a man and an 11-year-old boy from the Kaneh stream.
Recent storms have also led to the largest rise in the water level of the Sea of Galilee since the beginning of the winter. According to the Water Authority, from January 13-16, an average of between 60 and 70 millimeters of rain fell in the Sea of Galilee drainage basin, boosting water levels in the lake by 5 centimeters (2 inches). Since October, the lake has risen 20 centimeters, but in an average whole rainy season, the level of the lake rises by eight times that amount.