80 people evacuated as flooding sweeps central Israel town
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80 people evacuated as flooding sweeps central Israel town

25 families in Ahiezer, near Lod, pulled from homes by boat amid heavy rain; no reports of injuries

Rescuers retrieve Israelis from their flooded homes in Ahiezer, central Israel, after heavy rains lash the country on December 7, 2018 (Israel Police)
Rescuers retrieve Israelis from their flooded homes in Ahiezer, central Israel, after heavy rains lash the country on December 7, 2018 (Israel Police)

Some 25 families were evacuated by boat from their flooded homes in central Israel, as heavy rains battered the country on Friday.

There were no reports of injuries in Ahiezer, near Lod, during the extraction of 80 of its residents.

Earlier in the day, a construction worker was killed north of Jerusalem when a concrete wall collapsed on him amid stormy weather conditions. The worker, who was not identified, was pulled from the rubble by emergency workers at the Atarot Industrial Zone, who were forced to pronounce his death.

Thunderstorms continued to pound Israel on Friday, as the country was seized by a cold snap that was expected to last through Saturday.

A car drives through floods following heavy rain, which will continue nationwide today, near Kfar Chabad, central Israel. December 07, 2018. (Yehuda Haim/FLASH90)

The first snowfall of the season was recorded at Mount Hermon on Friday morning.

The rains shuttered some roads, including portions of the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv for nearly five hours.

It also flooded a Rehovot police station on Friday, according to the Ynet news site. The central Israeli city saw 175 millimeters of rain fall in the past two days — the most in 15 years, according to Channel 10.

The flooding came a day after a Rehovot preschool was evacuated by boat. Despite the dramatic scenes of rescuers shuttling in and out of the area in rubber boats, no one was hurt in the preschool’s evacuation on water-logged Hey Be’iyar Street. At least 50 children and two adults were ferried out of the area.

Also on Thursday, one of Tel Aviv’s key intersections, Azrieli Junction, was brought to a standstill when water damage caused the traffic-light system in the area to fail.

Throughout the coastal plain, the storm that began on Thursday delivered the most water of any rainfall since January.

Police issued a call Thursday for drivers to take special care to drive slowly on wet roads, and to expect flooding even on elevated intercity highways.

Authorities are also warning thrill-seeking hikers against the practice of “chasing” floods in the riverbeds of the south, which experience flash floods as rains from elsewhere in the region are funneled by steep valleys to spill into the Jordan River and Dead Sea. The floods can come unexpectedly and are sometimes deadly to hikers and wildlife caught in their way.

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