Intense flash floods batter eastern Israel

Intense flash floods batter eastern Israel

Following a week of high temperature, strong rainstorms lashed eastern and southern Israel and triggered flash-floods on February 22, 2016.

Rain and winds battered eastern Israel, causing intense flash-floods and traffic disruptions across the affected areas. Ein Gedi reported flooding which caused the local schools to close down on February 22. Heavy snowfall and strong winds were reported on Mount Hermon, prompting the authorities to close down the ski resort.

Wadi Arugot on Monday, February 22, 2016. Video credit: Ziv Sinai/Ein Gedi Search and Rescue Unit/Times of Israel

Flooding was also reported in the southern city of Sderot and Bedouin areas of the Negev.

"I don’t understand why this happened to us. The last time, the municipality told us that [there was flooding] because there was more rain than normal, and, therefore the drainage system couldn’t handle it. But what happened this time? There was a normal amount of rain, and here we are, again with flooding, even worse than the last time," a Sderot shop owner said.

10 hikers, who got stranded due to bad weather conditions in the Negev, southern Israel were successfully rescued. A ceiling at the Be'er Sheva's "Grand Canyon" shopping mall collapsed due to rain.

Rainstorm brought an improvement to the local body of water at a risk of being depleted, the Sea of Galilee, which rose 1.5 cm (0.6 inches).

Flood in Ein Ovdat, Nahal Be'er Sheva and Rescue teams operating in Nahal Arugot. Video credit: Dafna Arbel, Ziv Sinai - Ein Gedi Rescue Unit, Alon Shachal/Haaretz.com

Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) has forecasted the temperature drop. Lowest temperatures reaching 6 °C (42 °F) while highs of 12 °C (54 °F) were expected in Jerusalem on February 22 while Tel Aviv was awaiting lows of 11 °C (52 °F) and highs up to 17 °C (63 °F). Beersheba was expecting highs up to 17 °C (63 °F), as well, while lowest temperatures of 9 °C (48 °F) were forecast by the IMS. Temperatures of the similar order were anticipated on February 23.

Wind gusts up to 48.2 km/h (30 mph) have been expected across Haifa and other northern coastal cities, while Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheba were forecast to experience somewhat lower gusts of about 40.2 km/h (25 mph).

More rainfall will lash the region throughout the day, and IMS expects the weather conditions to improve by February 24.

Featured image: Flood in Ein Ovdat, Nahal Be'er Sheva and Rescue teams operating in Nahal Arugot, February 22, 2016. Video credit: Dafna Arbel, Ziv Sinai - Ein Gedi Rescue Unit, Alon Shachal/Haaretz.com

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