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.
הנער שנסחף בנחל ממשית: בתום חיפושים אותר הנער ומותו נקבע במקום pic.twitter.com/SnRwzGEbt2
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) April 25, 2018
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.
תקרה קרסה במרכז מסחרי בראשון לציון. חובשים ופרמדיקים של מד"א ערכו סריקה ולא איתרו נפגעים
צילום: אסף אופנהיים pic.twitter.com/DEbGSR6E6K
— החדשות (@NewsChannelIL) April 25, 2018
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.
Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road in “Noah’s Flood: The Winningest.” pic.twitter.com/wIsVJcMfAS
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) April 25, 2018
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.