Several Rescued From Flooded Streambeds as Israel's Stormy Weekend Draws to a Close

Thanks to the heavy rains, the water level in Lake Kinneret has risen 7 centimeters

A man stands on the beach in Ashkelon, January 5, 2018.
Ilan Assayag

The storm that has been raging throughout Israel since Thursday is expected to die down by Saturday night. The past two days saw the greatest amount of rainfall so far this winter, from Mount Hermon to the Judean Desert. Sunday’s weather will be pleasant and slightly warmer, while Monday will be rainless and even warmer.

According to the Water Authority, over the past two days the largest quantity of rain fell in the Western Galilee and Mount Carmel.

Twenty centimeters of snow had accumulated at the base of Mount Hermon, where the temperature was 4 degrees Celsius. At the upper cable car station, the temperature dropped to 2 degrees, with a snow depth of 35 centimeters. At a certain point, the ski resort closed it doors due to heavy traffic and a large number of visitors.

Women walk in the rain at Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, January 5, 2018.
Olivier Fitouss

The fire and rescue services evacuated six people from the Og streambed in the Judean Desert, among them an 11-year-old boy and his father. As of Saturday the teams were still looking for other people who may have been stranded by flood waters.

Meteo-Tech Meteorological Services reported that the northern Golan Heights saw 8.5 centimeters of rain from Thursday until 10 A.M. on Saturday, while 8 centimeters fell in the southern part of Lake Kinneret. As of Saturday, the water level in the lake had risen 7 centimeters, which was still not enough to bring it to the desired level for this time of year.

Safed was doused with around 10 centimeters of rain and the Haifa Bay area received 6.5 to 7.5 centimeters. The Sharon Plain saw 6.5 centimeters of rain, in Tel Aviv the rainfall reached 4.8 centimeters while Jerusalemites got 7.2 centimeters. Quite a bit of rain fell in usually dry Be’er Sheva and Arad – 4 and 3.5 centimeters, respectively. The rain in these desert areas led to flooding in the Judean Desert streambeds, including Tze’elim, Arugot, Hever, Be’er Sheva, Habesor and Mamshit.

Route 90 was closed in both directions in the Dead Sea region, as was Route 234 near Tze’elim. There is still a risk of flooding in the Judean Desert.

A man walks on the beach in Tel Aviv, January 5, 2018.
Moti Milrod

In the Coastal Plain, the added rainwater made the Alexander Stream and the Yarkon River swell to a powerful flow.

In the Sharon region, fire and rescue teams evacuated two people from their cars on Friday after they sunk in mud and water near Moshav Sde Yitzhak. Earlier on Friday, a 9-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy were slightly injured when the car they were riding in was swept by flood waters near Moshav Maor. They were taken to Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center in Hadera, where they were treated for hypothermia. The police rescued the 70-year-old driver of the vehicle.

In Jerusalem, a 67-year-old man was slightly injured by a falling tree. He was taken to Hadassah University Hospital to treat his bruised back. In Tel Aviv, a 53-year-old woman was slightly injured when a gate swung open with a gust of wind and struck her. She was taken to Ichilov Hospital with a back injury.

The fire and rescue services, the Israel Electric Corporation and local authorities started making preparations a few days before the storm struck. The fire and rescue services said they had prepared for complex rescue scenarios and had inflatable boats, cranes and generators on hand.