The year 2018 began with rain sweeping accross Israel and snow piling on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, despite predictions of drought for this winter. Just last week the agriculture minister, Uri Ariel, participated in prayers for rain held at the Western Wall.
The lower slopes of the Hermon received about 8 more centimeters of snow while the peak received 15 centimeters, figures likely to increase as snow continues to fall through Monday.
The water level of the Sea of Galilee, a matter of keen local interest, gained a centimeter as of Sunday evening after as much as 50 millimeters of rain fell in the north, according to the Water Authority.
The water level in the lake is now at 214.27 meters below sea level, which is 1.4 meters below the present "lower red line."While Israel desalinates much of its drinking water, much still gets pumped from the Sea of Galilee. The state determined three basic levels – the "upper red line," the "lower red line" and the "black line" to help it manage the level of the lake and pumping from it.
When the lake level falls below that lower red line, pumping from the lake is supposed to stop entirely. (Below the black line, the government physically can't pump from the lake however much it changes the rules.) However, in practice over the years, the government has been known to redefine that lower red line at its convenience.
Haifa received the most rain measured as of last night, 44 millimeters, while Safed received 28 millimeters and Tel Aviv, 13 millimeters. Jerusalem and the northern Negev received sprinkles.
The stormy weather is expected to continue throughout the day and spread to the Negev, but to ease on Monday night. Authorities warn of possible flooding in the coastal towns, and flash flooding in the desert and around the Dead Sea area.
On Tuesday forecasters expect the clouds to clear somewhat, and predict partially cloudy to clear skies and an increase in temperature. Thursday should bring more of the same, followed later that day by rain starting in northern Israel and spreading to the center in the afternoon.
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