A sudden bout of winter weather hit Israel on Sunday and Monday with rains causing flooding in southern Israel, leading to blocked roads and necessitating the rescue of several people stranded by the floods.

Floods were reported in the Tzin and Havarim streams, near Sde Boker. This prompted police to close Road 40, one of only two routes leading to the southern city of Eilat, in the section between the Tzin stream and Mitzpe Ramon.

A bus with soldiers on board was caught in the flood waters as they spilled onto the road Sunday. The soldiers were evacuated by search and rescue teams.

Rescue squads also assisted a number of hikers who became stranded by the floods, using a helicopter to locate and evacuate them.

The Nature and Parks Authority issued a statement calling on hikers to avoid all stream channels in the south, saying any backpackers in the area were endangering their lives.