Emergency crews, helicopter rescue 8 from flooded river as Israel hit by storm

Heavy snow in Golan Heights, Safed, while Sea of Galilee rises over 5 centimeters; despite cold temperatures, no snowfall in Jerusalem

Heavy waters stream in the Golan Heights on January 26, 2018. (Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90)
Heavy waters stream in the Golan Heights on January 26, 2018. (Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90)

IDF helicopters and rescue teams pulled eight people, who were trapped in a swollen river in the north, to safety as the country was hit by a winter storm.

The group had entered the Nahal Hizalon in off-road vehicles. Three of those rescued were later taken to hospitals in Haifa and Naharia and treated for hypothermia.

6 others were rescued in a series of incidents as rivers overflowed and streets flooded.

Elsewhere, heavy snow fell at Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, as well as in the northern city of Safed. The Hermon ski resort remained closed due to the heavy snowfall, while roads in the area were closed intermittently due to the weather.

Flooding at the entrance to an apartment building after heavy rains in Netanya on January 26, 2018. (Flash90)

Streets in the northern cities of Hadera and Netanya flooded.

Although there was speculation snow would fall in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, none had fallen as of Friday evening.

While the low temperatures were set to continue overnight and into Saturday, the snow and rainfall were expected to stop.

The Israel Water Authority said unlike previous storms this winter, which did little to relieve drought stricken areas of the country, the current rainfall was leading to an increase in the water flow of streams in the Sea of Galilee area. It stressed, however, the rain was not enough to make up for the preceding dry years.

A cow is seen in a snow covered field in the Golan Heights on January 26, 2018. (Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90)

The Water Authority also said the level the Sea of Galilee, which is often used as a barometer for the size of Israel’s natural water supply, had risen over five centimeters since the storm began Thursday.

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