The amount of rainfall that hit northern Israel over the past two weeks broke the country’s 50-year record, meteorological services said Thursday.
Fierce storms and heavy rain pounded central and northern Israel for over a week as two storm systems hit the country one after the other. Massive flooding in cities and rivers caused major damage to homes, vehicles and infrastructure. The northern city of Nahariya, besieged by the floods, suffered the most damage from the unusually inclement weather.
Over the past two days alone, over 100 mm (3.9 inches) of rain fell in northern Israel, causing major flooding in Haifa and especially in Nahariya, where one person was killed. Moti Ben Shabbat, 38, drowned on Wednesday when he jumped into a flooded car to rescue the passengers, but was washed away by a strong floodwater current.
Several meteorological stations in the north recorded an average of 350 and 400 mm (13.7-15.7 inches) of rain that had accumulated since December 25, with some areas in the Western and Upper Galilee seeing up to 450 mm (17 inches), the highest amount measured in two-week time since January 1969.
In the northern parts of the country, the amount of rainfall that has accumulated since the beginning of January, already surpassed the month’s average in the region by 140% to 180% from the same time period last year.
In Moshav Regba and Kibbutz Evron in the Western Galilee, not far from Nahariya, the amount of rain that fell since the start of the month, has surpassed the average for the entire winter season in the region.
The amount of rain along the coastal plain in the center of the country was more modest. Along the Sharon plain and the Judean Mountains between 20 and 60 mm of rain was recorded.
Unfortunately, south of the city of Ashkelon and the northern Negev, the amount of rainfall measured only a few millimeters. January’s average in the region currently stands at 50% to 80% from the same time last year.
On Friday, the current storm system will begin winding down. Rain is still expected in most parts of the country, with fears of flooding across all regions.
Snowfall is expected in the northern Golan Heights.
Saturday will see a mix of sun and clouds, with temperatures set to begin warming up.