Accompanied by frequent booms of thunder and flashes of lightning, the showers forced people to contend with deep puddles and at times brought traffic to a standstill.
Snow also dropped on the lower Hermon area, dragging temperatures down with it to 0 degrees celsius. Authorities closed the areas to visitors.
Highway 2 southbound between Haifa and Jisr az-Zarqa in the northern region was particularly hard hit by the giant puddles and floods, prompting police to issue recommendations that drivers travel on alternative routes.
In the industrial area of the coastal city of Rishon LeZion, forklifts went into action to extricate vehicles ensnared by the crippling puddles.
In Tel Aviv, garbage cans were seen floating on the roads while passengers aboard jam-packed buses in central Israel were surprised to look down and find mini streams engulfing their feet as the rains seeped in.
Avital, 24, was riding to work in a cab but was delayed when it was almost completely submerged by the flood under a bridge on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv. After a few minutes, she and the driver, Shlomo Monk, abandoned the vehicle and Avital was taken to safety on the shoulders of a police officer. “I’m still recovering from the experience,” she told Ynet.
“The driver put on WAZE and when we approached Sderot Rokach there was serious traffic. The driver was just telling me that the car was new, that he had bought it just a few months ago and that he was sure it would get through,” Avital continued. “But the moment he hit the gas in the puddle the engine turned off and we got stuck."
At this point, Avital recalled, the rain was creeping all the way up to the windows and began to debouch through the small openings between the small opening in the doors into the car.
“No one was willing to come and get us out so we stayed and sat. The driver realized that the car had gone and he put all his papers in my bag, opened the window on the roof and told me what to do if the doors get stuck and we need to abandon the car,” she said, adding that all the time buses and jeeps were passing by.
“When the water got really high, we decided to escape. The water was up to our waist and we managed to stand on a concrete ramp under the railway track.”
“I opened the windows and told her that if anything happens she should leave first,” said Shlomo, a cab driver from Moshav Gimzo. “When the police came I asked them to take her first and only then to take me. The car stayed there and I went home on the train because I was wet to the bone. Now I’m resting and drying. It was an experience.”
The rains also took no pity on apartments, with some in Tel Aviv being completely saturated by the downpour.
Geffen Stolro and Hadar Nahmani, two 22-year-old women who live on Be'er Tuvya Street in tel Aviv, found in their basement apartment a waist-deep pool of rain.
“I went to work, came back and saw that the whole apartment was flooded,” Nahmani told Ynet.
“The water went above the bed, my shoes are floating and everything is a pool. It’s crazy, she added. “I don’t know what has been ruined because I escaped.”
Disruptions were also felt on the train services when the inclement weather conditions caused delays from Ashkelon to Tel Aviv and passengers, were required to change trains after being stuck for half an hour.
According to forecasts by Meteo-Tech, further floods are expected to sweep across the coastal plain while heavy downpours are forecast to head southward, and push into the Dead Sea streams and the Judean Desert east of Jerusalem.
With drops in temperature also expected to be felt throughout the country, the heavy rains have caused the Kinneret to rise by 1.5cm in the past 24 hours.
Meteorologist Tzachi Waxman from Meteo-Tech said that the deluge is expected to continue drenching the country over the next two days until Saturday night.
“In the next twenty-four hours and also tomorrow large quantities of rain are supposed to fall and in certain places are likely to reach over 100mm,” Waxman said.
Snow, Waxman added, may also fall in Jerusalem on Friday, but emphasized that it is unlikely to settle.
On Thursday night last week, roads were flooded, trees were chopped down and electrical utility poles were damaged as sharp winds cut across Israel and heavy rains drenched the country, forcing authorities to close off a number of roads to traffic.