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WATCH: Flash floods wreak havoc in central Israel

Heavy rains down power lines, leave hundreds stranded in major cities in Sharon region

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

  • Weizmann Street, in the central Israeli city of Ra'anana, was flooded due to heavy rain, October 28, 2015. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)
    Weizmann Street, in the central Israeli city of Ra'anana, was flooded due to heavy rain, October 28, 2015. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)
  • The flooded Weizman Street, in the central Israeli city of Raanana, due to heavy rain, October 28, 2015. (Photo by Chen Leopold/FLASH90)
    The flooded Weizman Street, in the central Israeli city of Raanana, due to heavy rain, October 28, 2015. (Photo by Chen Leopold/FLASH90)
  • The flooded Weizman Street, in the central Israeli city of Raanana, due to heavy rain, October 28, 2015. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)
    The flooded Weizman Street, in the central Israeli city of Raanana, due to heavy rain, October 28, 2015. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)
  • A Israeli man tries to open a sewer drain as water floods a street during a storm in Netanya, north of Tel Aviv on October 25, 2015. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)
    A Israeli man tries to open a sewer drain as water floods a street during a storm in Netanya, north of Tel Aviv on October 25, 2015. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

Residents of Herzliya, Ra’anana and Kfar Saba faced heavy floods Wednesday as a brief but intense winter storm swept the area, closing major roads and flooding whole neighborhoods.

Three days after a storm knocked out power for tens of thousands of Israeli homes, Wednesday’s downpour left some 15,000 households in the dark for the second time in less than a week.

Ahead of the storm, police and fire crews raised their alert level and beefed up deployment, while the Israel Electric Corporation called on the public to report any fallen electrical wires and readied crews in case of electricity outages.

Despite preparations, severe disruptions were reported across the area.

https://twitter.com/rinalevy66/status/659346895584669697

Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon declared a state of emergency, calling in additional emergency services to rescue people caught in the floods. The city’s small airport was closed after the control tower was hit by lightning.

Israel Radio reported that police evacuated hundreds of people stranded in their homes and cars in Kfar Saba and Ra’anana.

Dozens of people were trapped in elevators in city centers due to the blackouts, and emergency crews worked to extract them.

The renewed power outages came hours after the electric company announced that almost all of the 200,000 homes that had lost power during the height of Sunday’s storm had been reconnected to the power grid.

The IEC said in a statement on Wednesday that its crews were working to repair the damaged high voltage power lines in the area, but did not give an estimate as to how long the repairs would take.

On Sunday, one person was killed and 20 more injured as high winds and heavy rain battered the country, knocking down trees and a crane in central Israel, and flooding roads in the south.

While the IEC said its crews were working in full emergency capacity to restore electricity to the 200,000 homes without power, a number of reports indicated that disgruntled employees were taking their time repairing broken power lines to signal their discontent with the management’s moves to streamline the state-owned corporation.

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