Flights grounded as heavy rains lash southern Israel
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Flights grounded as heavy rains lash southern Israel

Severe storm causes flooding, closing roads and delaying planes at Eilat airport; north gets showers, hail

Illustrative image of flash flooding in southern Israel, file photo (Photo credit: Gili Yaari/Flash 90)
Illustrative image of flash flooding in southern Israel, file photo (Photo credit: Gili Yaari/Flash 90)

Torrential rains and hail pelted southern Israel Tuesday evening, forcing the closure of roads and flight delays, just days after a severe sandstorm and high temperatures hit the region.

Israel’s airports authority barred flights from taking off and landing in Eilat because of the inclement weather, resulting in delays to 14 Israir and Arkia flights to the southern resort city. The airport reopened late Tuesday.

The transportation authority said Route 40 south of Mitzpe Ramon and Road 90 north of Eilat were closed due to flooding. Officials warned of low visibility and flash flooding in low-lying areas, and urged drivers to be cautious.

A National Parks Authority employee said the Paran watercourse was flooded, and the nearby area was experiencing torrential rains and lightning.

“It felt like the apocalypse, the rain has been torrential, there were about 10 lightning strikes in seconds, and even with your windshield wipers on high, it was impossible to see anything,” Mark Katz said.

Images published on social media showed the Nekarot River flooded as well.

The Upper Galilee and Golan Heights also experienced scattered showers and some sporadic bouts of hail earlier on Tuesday.

The rain was expected to taper off by Wednesday, although temperatures are to remain high.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Ministry said the dense sandstorm that blanketed Israel and parts of the Mideast last week with thick yellowish-brown dust in recent days was the worst recorded in the country’s history.

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