Two Teens Die in Flash Floods as Storm Hits Israel, West Bank

16-year-old in south and 17-year-old in West Bank die after being swept away in floods; Tel Aviv airport closed

An Israeli tank submerged in water in the south.
Rachel Armoza-Zvuloni

Two teenagers died in flash floods on Wednesday as Israel endured heavy rains and hail on Wednesday. Towns in the northern Negev were hit hard by the rains and Dimona and Arad saw heavy flooding and all the nearby streams overflowed.

A 16-old-year died after being swept away by floods in the Mamshit Stream in the southern Negev. He was swept away near his home in a Bedouin encampment a few hundred meters from the Mamshit National Park. He was found about 3 kilometers further down the stream in critical condition by a relative, who called in the rescue unit. He was evacuated by an Air Force helicopter but died on the way to the hospital.

Stormy weather in Israel's south.

A 17-year-old Palestinian girl died in the desert hills east of Bethlehem in the West Bank. She was herding sheep and was swept away by the flood.

The north saw more breaks in the showers but was hit with very heavy winds and haze. Heavy rains and hail struck in the afternoon in the center of the country.

The Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv was closed because of the weather, and a planned race was canceled in the north.

A sandstorm in the Arava on Wednesday.
Alex Levac
Tel Aviv on Wednesday afternoon.
Moti Milrod

Route 90 along the Dead Sea was closed because of flooding north of the hotels in Ein Bokek after the Rahaf Stream flooded the main road.

Twenty-five millimeters of rain fell in Tel Aviv in just one hour. This is 25 percent more than the entire average rainfall for the entire month of April in the city, 20 millimeters. Large amounts of rain also fell in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, 45 to 50 millimeters.

Some 60 youths were treated for mild hypothermia in the Arad area after they were caught in flooding near Kfar Hanokdim. All the injuries were minor. Police and volunteers from the local rescue unit evacuated the students.

A flipped over car on the highway near Kiryat Gat, April 25, 2018.
\ Ilan Assayag

Bathers were told not to enter the Sea of Galilee because of the high waves and the fear they would be dragged out away from the shore.

Part of the Ayalon Highway in the middle of Tel Aviv was closed by flooding, and a number of roads in the city were blocked by fallen trees. In Rishon Letzion, a ceiling collapsed in a commercial center. No injuries were reported. A main thoroughfare in the city, Jabotinsky Road, was closed to traffic in both directions because of flooding.

Forecast

The rain will contnue overnight in the south but will weaken in the center of the country. 

Local showers are expected on Thursday along the coast. Temperatures will be unseasonably cold, particularly away from the coast and in the central hills.The rain will pick up again in the afternoon.

Haifa on Wednesday.
rami shllush
Heavy hail in Arad in the Negev Desert on Wednesday.
Aryeh Schiff

Occasional showers will fall inland and in the south with thunderstorms and possibly hail on Thursday.  Flooding is possible in the south, the Dead Sea, Jordan Valley and Judean Desert.  

The Mediterranean Sea will see tall waves 60 to 120 centimeters high. Winds will be blow strongly from the southwest at speeds of 20 to 40 kilometers an hour.

Friday will see light rain, winding along the coast but continuing inland and in the south. Flooding is still possible in the south, Dead Sea, Judean Desert and Jordan Valley. The rain is expected to come to an end on Friday night. Temperatures will remain below normal for the end of April.

Saturday will be warmer with temperatures reaching seasonal averages. Sunday will be pleasant with a further rise in temperature.