During December, the Sea of Galilee rose a steep 50 centimeters, reaching 211.90 meters below sea level by year’s end, the Israel Water Authority announced on Thursday.
According to water officials, the lake is still a vast 3.08 meters below the “upper red line,” the level at which the Degania Dam is opened to allow an increased flow into the Jordan and prevent the lake from flooding the city of Tiberias and other towns along its coast.
Still, the Water Authority said that a rise of the recent magnitude is considered extremely rare for the month of December. So far, this winter has seen 33% more precipitation than the average, and it is the wettest winter since 1994.
If the current weather trends continue throughout the rest of the winter, the Sea of Galilee is expected to ascend to 1.6 meters below the upper red line, the Water Authority said.
Half of the rise in water level over the month occurred during a three-day stretch of massive downpours between December 20 and December 23. New water-pumping polices contributed to the the lake’s sharp rise as well.
The Sea of Galilee is Israel’s main source of fresh water.