Cities brace for fresh havoc amid heavy rains, chance of snow
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Cities brace for fresh havoc amid heavy rains, chance of snow

Jerusalem prepares for cold, possible flakes, though odds are low; precipitation causes blockages on several major roads

A flooded road after heavy rainfall in the central city of Netanya, on January 19, 2020. (Flash90)
A flooded road after heavy rainfall in the central city of Netanya, on January 19, 2020. (Flash90)

With another winter storm hitting Israel this week, and following two such tempests in recent weeks that caused mass flooding in multiple cities and several deaths, municipalities were bracing for new havoc — and this time with a chance of snow.

Monday’s rains caused flooding on several roads, including the major Route 4 near Batzra, as well as on the main Jabotinsky Road between Tel Aviv and Petah Tikva. In Kfar Yona, east of Netanya, a soldier was rescued after his off-road vehicle sank in mud.

Rains were expected across the country through to Thursday, and flood warnings were issued for seasonal riverbeds in the country’s south, though the stormy weather was not anticipated to approach the magnitude of previous downpours that have deluged cities over the past month, killing at least 7.

Heavy snow was falling Monday on Mount Hermon, the country’s highest peak. Israel’s only ski resort on the peak said it would close Tuesday because of the weather.

Flakes were a possibility Tuesday in other high peaks in northern Israel as well as in its central mountainous region, though most of it was not expected to stick. Jerusalem was making preparations, as were Hebron and the Etzion Bloc in the West Bank even as metereologists predicted low chances for anything other than a light dusting in most places.

Even without the snow, authorities in Jerusalem called on residents to prepare for a particularly cold and windy week, and to check the condition of heating and electrical systems. The city’s emergency services were ready with reinforced personnel for an uptick in calls. Temperatures in the capital are expected to dip close to freezing late Tuesday and again over the weekend.

The Jerusalem Municipality prepares tractors for clearing the snow which is expected to fall in Jerusalem this week, January 24, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Parts of Israel have been experiencing their wettest January in memory.

As of Monday morning, the Sea of Galilee was sitting at 210.66 meters below sea level, 1.86 meters from its fullest level.

In late December and early January, Israel was hit by record-breaking downpours that overwhelmed drainage systems and produced widespread flooding in many cities, while also filling up water reservoirs to levels not seen in years.

Two people died in Tel Aviv while trapped in a submerged elevator in a basement. Days later, a man was killed in Nahariya while pulling a family out of a submerged car.

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