Two killed in flash floods as storm, hail batter Israel
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Two killed in flash floods as storm, hail batter Israel

Rare April deluge sweeps across country, forcing closure of roads, an airport and a flooded mall

  • A car drives through flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
    A car drives through flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
  • A general view of flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
    A general view of flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
  • A dust and sand storm is seen in the northern Israeli city of Safed, during story weather across Israel, on April 25, 2018. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90
    A dust and sand storm is seen in the northern Israeli city of Safed, during story weather across Israel, on April 25, 2018. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90
  • Ultra-orthodox Jews watch flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
    Ultra-orthodox Jews watch flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
  • Illustrative: A car drives through flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
    Illustrative: A car drives through flooded water running through a valley blocking the main road along the Dead Sea, near the desert fortress of Masada, following heavy rainfall on April 25, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
  • Kids take cover under umbrellas on a rainy day as they walk in Kibbutz Sarid in northern Israel on April 25, 2018. (Anat Hermony/Flash90)
    Kids take cover under umbrellas on a rainy day as they walk in Kibbutz Sarid in northern Israel on April 25, 2018. (Anat Hermony/Flash90)

Two teenagers were killed in separate incidents after they were swept away by flash floods, as parts of the country were pounded Wednesday by rare April hail and thunderstorms.

In southern Israel, rescue crews used a helicopter to locate a 17-year-old Bedouin boy swept away in the Mamshit Stream in the Negev Desert, but he was pronounced dead after being found, police said.

In the West Bank, police said rescue teams were searching for a young Palestinian woman who was reported to have been swept away by flooding near the settlement of Ma’ale Amos. Later Wednesday her body was found.

Separately, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said it treated some 42 high-school students suffering from light hypothermia after they got trapped in flooding while on a school trip near Kfar Hanokdim in southern Israel.

The MDA said it was working to rescue some 20 more students from the flooding, while the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba said it was preparing to receive the injured students for treatment.

Due to the flooding, parts of Routes 40 and 90 in southern Israel were closed to traffic, police said. Roads across the country were submerged and dozens of cars damaged.

Elsewhere, a mall in Rishon Lezion flooded after the ceiling collapsed. The MDA said no one was injured. The Sde Dov airfield in Tel Aviv was also shut for two hours.

The stormy weather was also felt in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which experienced hail, thunder and heavy rain.

Despite the tough weather conditions, the Israel Water Authority said every drop of rain was “important, blessed and good,” but the the heavy precipitation could not make up for the drought-like conditions in recent years.

The Israel Meteorological Service said the rain was expected to continue overnight and into Thursday throughout Israel and would be accompanied by isolated thunderstorms.

It also said there was concern of further flooding in southern Israel and the Jordan Valley.

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