Sea of Galilee rises 11 centimeters in a day as wintry spell continues

Water Authority says heavy rains have raised lake 2.68 meters since start of season, but it remains below optimal level

View of the Sea of Galilee as seen from the promenade of Tiberias on March 18, 2019. (David Cohen/Flash90)
View of the Sea of Galilee as seen from the promenade of Tiberias on March 18, 2019. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Rains in the north of the country caused the Sea of Galilee water level to rise by 11 centimeters over the course of 24 hours, as unseasonably cold and wet weather continued to lash Israel and the region on Monday.

The Water Authority announced a total water level rise in the Sea of Galilee of 15.5 centimeters since Friday. Since the beginning of the winter, the lake’s level has risen by 2.68 meters but is still 3.19 meters below its optimal level, the government body said.

Streams and waterfalls in the north are flowing at faster levels due to the high levels of precipitation, while flood warnings remain in place for some areas of the country.

The wintry spell is due to end Tuesday morning.

View of the Meitzar waterfall in the southern Golan Heights, on March 31, 2019 (Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90)

The Sea of Galilee lies in a deep valley in northern Israel that is part of the Syrian-African, or Great Rift, valley that runs below sea level for some 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon to Mozambique in southern Africa.

Last month, the surface of the Sea of Galilee rose above the “lower red line” — 213 meters below sea level. The marker was determined as a level below which the lake could suffer long-term ecological damage. In 2001, the lake reached its lowest-ever level at minus-214.87 meters (minus-705 feet), known as the “Black Line.”

Elsewhere in Israel, two young men were killed Saturday in the southern city of Eilat after a palm tree uprooted by strong winds crushed them, as heavy rains and stormy weather hit Israel over the weekend. The pair, Jordanian workers in their 20s, were declared dead at the scene near a hotel on the Red Sea coast. Two other Jordanian nationals were lightly injured.

The scene of a tree that was uprooted by strong winds in Eilat on March 30, 2019. (Magen David Adom)

The Foreign Ministry said it was in contact with the Jordanian embassy over the matter.

There were other incidents reported in Eilat following the stormy weather, including a streetlight that fell and a man who almost drowned while swimming in the sea and was taken to hospital in serious condition.

In the central city of Givatayim, a sinkhole was caused Sunday morning by heavy rains. The road was closed to traffic.

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