Lake Kinneret Rises by Almost 8 Inches After Heavy Rainfall

Showers expected to continue until Tuesday; Storms leave heavy layer of snow on Mount Hermon.

Lake Kinneret rose by almost 8 inches over the weekend after heavy rains battered Israel in the most serious storms of the winter.

The storms will taper off on Sunday, after dropping 60-100 millimeters of rainfall in various parts of the country and thickening Mount Hermon's snowy mantle.

Tourist facilities in the north reported high occupancy rates as people came to enjoy the snow on Mount Hermon and waterfalls in the area's nature reserves. However, the stormy weather created road hazards, leading to one fatality, while a homeless man apparently froze to death in a Jaffa park.

Streambeds including the Dalton and the Tzipori, in the Galilee, flooded over the weekend. In the high Galilee Mountains, the Hilazon stream overflowed its banks and inundated Route 804, from Arabeh to Lotem in the Galilee Mountains. Route 574, between Barkai and Baka al-Garbiyeh, in the mountains east of the coastal plain, was also flooded.

A man of about 30 was found dead Saturday in a Jaffa public park, near Blumfield Stadium. Police said the man, who was homeless, apparently froze to death, and have begun an investigation.

This morning will continue to be rainy and cold, with more snow expected on mountain peaks in the center and the north. Scattered showers are expected tomorrow and into Tuesday. The mercury is expected to drop to 14 or 15 degrees on the coast, and 5 degrees in the Galilee and Judean Mountains.

Cabins covered in snow

Other roads were blocked by deep puddles, as well as debris and soil brought down by the flooding. Road 989 to Majdal Shams in the northern Golan Heights was blocked by snow. After several cars got stuck in the snow on the way to Mount Hermon, police closed the road at the Sa'ar Waterfall junction to everyone but local residents heading home. The Mount Bental tourist site and the Hermon ski slopes also were closed to visitors.

Tourist destinations in Metula, Rosh Pina, Kfar Blum, Neveh Ativ's Rimmonim Hermon and other places reported high occupancy over the weekend.

"Most of our guests went on hikes in the nature reserves and to see the waterfalls, and enjoyed the wooden cabins covered with snow," said Nadav Bracha, the director of the Rimmonim Hermon.

The rainwater will find its way into streambeds and from there to the Kinneret and the coastal aquifer, particularly in the northern Sharon. The Judean Desert had several floods along with the rainfall, which is critical for that region's flora and fauna.

Although the Israel Nature and Parks Authority issued flood warnings meant to keep hikers out of streambeds over the weekend, four people were rescued Saturday after their car was swept into a flood in the Tavor stream in central Galilee. They were not injured.