Stormy Weather Causes Serious Damage, Power Outages Across Israel

Several highways have been closed due to flooding and strong winds have toppled trees that hit moving vehicles and homes

Workers fix damaged powerlines in Binyamina, January 19, 2018.
Israel Electric Corporation spokesperson

Wet and windy weather has been causing serious damage across Israel since Thursday evening. The Israel Electric Corporation reported on Friday morning that power was disrupted in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Rehovot, Rishon Letzion and other cities. Strong winds have toppled trees in many locations, blocking some roads and interfering with repair work along the coast in the Sharon Plain.

Route 90 near the Dead Sea was closed due to flooding on Friday morning. Traffic was halted in both directions from the Masada Junction to Ein Gedi. The heavy rain caused flooding in the Arugot Stream, with the Hever Stream also seeing water flows. Service of the Masada National Park cable car was interrupted due to heavy winds. Entrance to the site is possible only from the south due to flooding along the northern access road. The Yarkon National Park in the north of Tel Aviv was closed to visitors.

The Mount Hermon ski resort, January 19, 2018.
Mount Hermon ski resort website

A tree fell on a car travelling along Abba Hillel Street in Ramat Gan and a roof collapsed in building on the city's Hayetzira Street, but no one was injured. On Thursday a tree fell on a moving car in Beit She’an. Emergency medical services extricated two men in their fifties from the car and took them to hospital with light injuries. Trees also fell on cars on Yehudit Boulevard in Tel Aviv and in Hadera’s Beit Eliezer neighborhood.

A 46-year-old motorcycle driver was injured when the branches of a falling tree struck him, causing him to slide. Another tree hit a power line in Haifa. Falling trees blocked Route 581 in the Hefer Valley between Ein Hahoresh and Ahituv. Route 553 was also blocked by a fallen tree at the entrance to Tel Mond, hampering access to the town. Power outages were reported in Zichron Yaakov, Kiryat Tivon, Beit Keshet and Rosh Pina.

Water rushes in Arugot Stream near Route 90, January 19, 2018.

On Friday the weather will continue to be rainy and stormy in most parts of the country. Snow is expected on Mount Hermon, in the northern Golan Heights and possibly on mountaintops in the Galilee. There is a risk of flooding in many areas. The storm will start abating by midday and the rain should stop by evening, accompanied by dropping temperatures. The sea will be stormy, with waves reaching 4 to 7 meters in height. Westerly to north-westerly winds will reach 40 to 60 kilometers per hour.

On Saturday it will be partly cloudy, with rising temperatures. Some drizzle may occur in the morning hours. Sunday will be partly cloudy, with a further rise in temperatures, to levels that are above the seasonal average. The rain is expected to return on Monday night.

A police car blocks Road 90 at Masada Junction, January 19, 2018.
Israel Police spokesperson