A Blustery Day Indeed: Israel Hit With Heavy Rain, High Winds and Snow

As Israelis hunker down for a much-needed winter storm, Lake Kinneret water levels get a break and northern streams flow in year first

A woman walks in high winds and rain along the coast of Tel Aviv Friday, January 5 2018.
Moti Milrod

The rain fell hard Friday throughout Israel's north and center in the stormiest day yet of what has been a very dry and warm winter. Rains in the north have been in the 30- to 50-millimeter range and Israel’s Water Authority reports the level of the Sea of Galilee rose by two centimeters just because of rain falling directly on the lake, for the first time this winter. The extremely low water level is expected to rise further as the streams in the north fill up and begin flowing into the lake.

Snow is expected during the day on Mount Hermon while local dust and sand storms are possible in the south early in the day.  Flooding is likely in the streams in the east and south.

The storm will gradually die out and move on by Saturday morning.

A man kitesurfs along the beachfront in Tel Aviv on Friday, January 5 2018
Moti Milrod

The Mediterranean Sea will see high waves of 80 to 150 centimeters. The wind will blow south-east to south-west at speeds of 16 to 32 kilometers an hour.

Israel's fire and rescue services, Israel Electric Corporation and local governments all made preparations over the past few days for the stormy weather. The rescue services said they added forces and increased their readiness for incidents requiring complex rescue operations. Teams are ready with inflatable boats, pumps and generators – as well over 200 generators, cranes and other lifting equipment ready all over the country.       

The IEC asked the public to report any severed or exposed electric lines immediately, as well as any other hazard, and the electric company advised removing any items on roofs or balconies that could be torn off in the storm and damage electric lines.

In the Arava, local government authorities have prepared heavy equipment including bulldozers to handle possible flooding. Farmers in the region have tied down their hothouses more strongly to prevent damage from the strong winds.