Man pulled unconscious from floodwaters in south as heavy rains drench Israel

Flooding reported in northern Negev region, coastal cities deluged as temperatures drop; some areas around Dead Sea closed to visitors; snow falls on Mount Hermon

Israelis watch a flash-flood in the Negev desert, on December 26, 2022, following heavy rainfall over the region. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
Israelis watch a flash-flood in the Negev desert, on December 26, 2022, following heavy rainfall over the region. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Heavy rains drenched Israel on Monday, inundating city streets, triggering flash floods in dry desert riverbeds and soaking rural areas as temperatures fell to their lowest levels of the season yet.

Downpours deluged northern Israel, the coastal plain, Jerusalem and parts of the northern Negev, and included lightning and heavy winds in some areas. In the far north, Mount Hermon saw its first significant snowfall of the season, with around 5 centimeters (2 inches) of the white stuff piling up.

Near Beersheba, a man in his 30s was swept away by fast-moving floodwaters. He was pulled from a stream unconscious and brought to paramedics who were attempting to save his life. His condition was unclear.

Authorities warned of danger of flooding near rivers, empty riverbeds and in coastal areas.

The Nature and Parks Authority closed some trails due to flooding, including parts of Masada, Ein Gedi and all the riverbeds around the Dead Sea.

Videos showed muddy waters cascading down channels in the northern Negev, flooded streets in Ashdod and a lightning strike in Tel Aviv.

Along with the rain came low seasonal temperatures. In Jerusalem, the temperature was 8-11°C (46-52 °F); in Tel Aviv , 14-17°C (57-63°F); in northern Safed, 7-9°C (44-48°F); and in Eilat in the south, 15-19°C (59-66°F).

The rain is expected to let up Monday evening and overnight.

Tuesday’s forecast is for partially cloudy skies and the temperature is expected to climb until the weekend.

Heavy rains caused flooding in some areas on Sunday, with the waters swallowing some vehicles in the central city of Rishon Lezion.

Tel Aviv recorded 57 millimeters (2.25 inches) of rain on Sunday, according to the Israel Meteorological Service.

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