Heavy rains swept across Eilat overnight Thursday, causing serious flooding and forcing the local airport to announce an indefinite closure due to dangerous quantities of water on the runways. The airport reported shortly before noon that it would be reopened and resume regular operations.
Booms of thunder accompanied the giant lightning bolts that could also be see lighting up the night skies.
A number of other roads leading to hotels in the popular holiday resort were also closed as tractors were deployed in an effort to remove the huge quantities of water drenching the streets across the city.
Since midnight, 27.7mm of rain fell in the port city, according to facts provided by the National Weather Service, with not less that 21.4mm falling over the course of two hours in the morning.
The amount of rain which saturated the city in just one night therefore, is similar to the entire annual average of rain that usually sunny Eilat sees.
What is more, the torrential rains contrast heavily with the temperatures in the area which are expected to reach up to 31 degrees celsius on Friday.
Staff at the U Coral Beach Club Eilat were hit hard as they were forced to contend with the flow of rain seeping into the dining hall. Similar scenes of water-filled rooms took place at the Orchid Reef Eilat hotel.
In addition to forcing authorities to shut down a number of roads and popular squares, two vehicles were reported to have become trapped in deep puddles. Moreover, one vehicle set on fire. No injuries were reported and rescue teams were called to the scene.
The airport authority released a statement explaining that some of the runways had become too hazardous as a result of the inclement weather conditions, necessitating the indefinite halt to airport activities.
“The closure of the runways is disrupting, and will continue to the disrupt, flight activities to and from the city,” the statement read. “Today, 21 commercial flights are expected to take place to and from Eilat...We call upon the public flying from Eilat to Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv and from Tel Aviv to stay updated via the airlines.”
Meir Ochion, Itay Blumental, Yaron Druckman, Ilana Curiel and Aviviti Tzanati contributed to this report.