Torrential downpour leads to floods in multiple regions
30 millimeters of rain measured in Galilee and Golan Heights Monday, with impressive rainfall in Coastal Plain as well; 15 centimeters of snow accumulated on Hermon's upper slopes, with snowfall expected to last until afternoon; flood warnings in central, northern Israel, Negev.
Israel saw heavy rainfall Monday morning in the northern and central regions accompanied by thunder storms, with flood warnings in the communities of the Coastal Plain. The rain will be spreading to the Negev later Monday, with flood warnings in the streams of the Judea Desert, Dead Sea and Negev.
In the first night of 2018, the Israel Meteorological Service measured more than 30 millimeters of rain in the Western Galilee's Ayalon kibbutz. In Beit Dagan in the Shfela, meanwhile, 15 millimeters were registered in a single hour.
The Meteo-Tech company said 30 millimeters of rain were measured in Majdal Shams in the northern Golan Heights, with Haifa and Netanya seeing 28 millimeters and Acre, Zikhron Ya'akov and Kfar Saba enjoying 20 millimeters or more of rainfall, while 14 millimeters were measured in Tel Aviv.
Meteo-Tech meteorologist Tzachi Waxman said the rain will spread to the central and northern Negev and be accompanied by thunder storms.
Haifa, a major northern city, saw nearly 15 millimeters of rainfall in only two hours, and 40 millimeters overall in recent days. As a result, both the city and its bay area saw multiple floods, with a car in the city's Student Beach near a drainage ditch being swept away to the sea. The driver was able to extricate himself from the car and was unharmed.
Elsewhere in Haifa, emergency teams were called to extricate drivers who were stranded in enormous puddles, with a mother and daughter rescued from their vehicle, which was submerged in water.
An underground pass in the city was closed due to the floods. The pass is flooded nearly every time the city sees serious rain, and a Kiryat Ata resident drowned there two years ago when he could not leave his vehicle.
The Haifa municipality said most of the flooding occurred in areas hit by last year's fire, as they remained exposed without any vegetation to mitigate the storm's effects.
Ashkelon also saw heavy rainfall, with a supermarket in the southern city flooded.
Snow accumulated on Mount Hermon, with 15 centimeters of the white stuff piling up on its upper slopes and eight centimeters on the lower slopes. A temperature of two degrees below zero was measured at the site Monday morning, with more snow expected to fall until the afternoon. The site will not, however, be opened to visitors due to fog and ongoing snowfall.
The country's Water Authority announced the Kinneret's level rose a single centimeter overnight Monday as a result of direct rainfall. The level now stands at -214.365 meters, or 1.365 meters below the lower red line, with 5.565 meters of water required to fill the lake.
Haifa's main sewage line, which runs near one of the Kishon River's tributaries, overflowed because of the heavy rainfall and contaminated the creek.
The Kishon River Drainage Authority said unauthorized connections from homes in the area to the sewage system have led to the overflowing of the waste water.
The matter was reported to the Environmental Protection Ministry, and Kishon River Drainage Authority officials said they will continue monitoring the situation and work with local authorities to move the sewage line away from the creek.
More light rain is in the forecast Tuesday in central and northern Israel, while Wednesday will be clear skies with a rise in temperatures. Rain will return Thursday morning to northern Israel and spread out to the center by the afternoon.