Rain, wind prompt road closures as storm sweeps in

Flash floods hit eastern Israel as temperatures drop throughout country; warmer days expected later in the week

Flooding in the Bedouin town of Um Namila, near Rahat in the Negev on Monday, February, 22, 2016 (Akil al Ziadneh/Albayan)
Flooding in the Bedouin town of Um Namila, near Rahat in the Negev on Monday, February, 22, 2016 (Akil al Ziadneh/Albayan)

Several Israeli schools and roads were closed Monday due to flooding as rain and wind bashed the country after a week of unseasonably high temperatures.

Flash floods in the area of Ein Gedi in eastern Israel prompted school closures in the area. On Mount Hermon, heavy snow and wind led operators to close the ski resort.

A group of 10 hikers who were stranded due to the inclement weather in the Negev, next to the Ramon Crater in southern Israel, were rescued. A search and rescue unit was called to the area and safely brought the hikers out using jeeps, reports said.

The southern city of Sderot also experienced flooding, as well as many Bedouin areas of the Negev.

“I don’t understand why this happened to us. The last time, the municipality told us that [there was flooding] because there was more rain than normal, and therefore the drainage system couldn’t handle it,” a Sderot shop owner told the Ynet news site.

“But what happened this time? There was a normal amount of rain, and here we are, again with flooding, even worse than the last time.”

The rain is expected to last until Tuesday in most of the country, with sunny skies set to return on Wednesday, the Israel Meteorological Society said.

The Sea of Galilee rose 1.5 centimeters (0.6 inches) from the rainfall, an improvement for the body of water, which is at risk of being depleted.

With the wind and precipitation, cold has also moved back into Israeli cities. Jerusalem was predicted to experience lows of approximately 42°F (6°C) and highs of 54°F (12°C) on Monday. Tel Aviv will feature slightly higher temperatures, with lows of 52°F (11°C) and highs of 63°F (17°C). Beersheba will see a high of 63°F (17°C) and a low of 48°F (9°C), according to the IMS.

Similar temperatures are predicted for Tuesday, but they should increase later in the week, when sunshine returns, according to IMS data.

Haifa and other northern coastal cities were predicted to have gusts of wind of up to nearly 30 miles per hour, according to the IMS. Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheba, meanwhile, can expect easterly gusts of nearly 25 miles per hour.

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