Heavy storms lash Israel; elderly man critical after fall in flooded area of Ramle

85-year-old, hospitalized with hypothermia, lay undiscovered in puddle for 30 minutes; woman rescued from car in Netanya; hail falls in southern town as wintry conditions intensify

Road flooded in Netanya on November 20, 2021 (Screen grab/Kan)
Road flooded in Netanya on November 20, 2021 (Screen grab/Kan)

As heavy rainfall lashed the country on Saturday, an elderly man was in critical condition after he apparently tripped and fell in the central city of Ramle.

The 85-year-old man fell in a flooded area and was taken to the Shamir Medical Center in Be’er Yaakov where he was put on a ventilator.

Paramedics believed he lay in the puddle for approximately half an hour before he was discovered, not breathing and without a pulse.

Medics managed to initially revive him, but he was suffering from hypothermia.

Severe flooding on Saturday led to road closures in a number of coastal cities, including Holon, Bat Yam and Netanya.

The heavy rain came after a particularly dry period of winds and dust that caused blockages in drains. However, Israelis have long complained that the drainage infrastructure is ill-equipped to cope with rain.

The Ynet news site said a woman had to be rescued from her vehicle in the coastal city of Netanya as water levels rose there. The underground parking lot of at least one building in that city was under water.

Several rivers flooded in the Negev and Arava deserts, while hail fell in the southern town of Kiryat Malakhi.

Israelis visit Palmachim Beach, on a winter day, November 20, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The highest level of rainfall was recorded in Ma’ale Gilboa, which saw some 49 mm (nearly two inches) of precipitation since the storm began on Friday.

Authorities warned people to stay away from riverbeds, and Tel Aviv beaches were closed off due to concerns of water pollution.

Nine people, among them three children, were wounded lightly to moderately on Friday when the rain caused two vehicles to skid off the road near the northern city of Tiberias.

Road flooded in southern Israel, November 19, 2021 (Screen grab/Kan)

The rain is expected to weaken by Monday, at which point temperatures will begin to rise again with unseasonably warm weather expected next weekend.

The warm temperatures and dry conditions over the past month have been a far cry from last year, when Israel experienced the wettest November since 1994, causing extensive flooding and damage in several coastal cities.

Last January a couple died when they became trapped in a flooded elevator during heavy storms in Tel Aviv. Officials said the elevator became stuck in the basement, possibly due to a power outage. Residents told Hebrew media they heard banging from the elevator and called police but rescue services took 30 to 60 minutes to arrive. The couple had drowned by then.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed