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Downpour floods Tel Aviv and center region, closing roads as rains lash country

50 millimeters of rain falls on coastal city during the morning with more expected over the next two days

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Motorists plow their vehicles through flooded streets after a winter storm hit the Israeli coastal town of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, on January 25, 2018. (JACK GUEZ/AFP)
Motorists plow their vehicles through flooded streets after a winter storm hit the Israeli coastal town of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, on January 25, 2018. (JACK GUEZ/AFP)

Several main roads in Tel Aviv were flooded Thursday as the city was hit with heavy rainfall that overwhelmed the drainage system.

In Tel Aviv, 50 millimeters of rain were recorded — with some 16 millimeters falling in the space of just one hour. Rokah Boulevard and Namir Road in Tel Aviv were both blocked to traffic by midday.

Around 20-30 millimeters of rain fell during the morning in other regions along the coastal plain. A large pool of water formed in the area of Mesubim Junction on Route 4, a main intercity highway that runs along the coast.

Flooding was reported in the central city of Rishon Lezion, where the water caused damage to cars. Rescue services were working to extract drivers who were trapped in their vehicles by the floods.

Police warned drivers to not try crossing any streams flowing over roads in the southeast of the country due to concerns of flash floods. Drivers everywhere were urged to exercise caution in the wet weather.

More heavy rain was predicted for the afternoon, sweeping in from the sea and spreading across the country. Snow and hail were expected later in the day in high areas of the central region although the snow was not likely to settle.

Snow was also reported on Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights where the country’s only ski resort opened for visitors earlier this month. The site was closed on Thursday due to the weather conditions

Israelis posted images and videos of the rain to social media websites.

Posted by Yair Mohr on Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Israel Electric Corporation said it had prepared 200 mobile generators for emergency use and was checking lines as well as cutting back tree branches that might cause disruptions, Hadashot news reported. The power company warned that nonetheless, the weather may still cause damage to lines and disruptions in service. Members of the public were urged to immediately report any damage to infrastructure that they notice.

The wet weather was expected to continue into the night and through Friday, beginning in the north and along the coast then reaching central areas as the day progresses.

https://twitter.com/yankifarber/status/956432743268745216

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