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In Pictures: Winter storms buffet Israel

Posted By Nicky Blackburn On January 30, 2010 @ 3:15 pm In | No Comments

Stormy weather in Israel maybe a curse because of the chaos it brings, but in a country where water is in short supply, most consider it a blessing. Take a look at ISRAEL21c’s gallery of pictures.

 

It has been the coldest, wettest period of Israel’s short winter these last few weeks, with heavy rainstorms that swept the country from south to north trailing chaos in their wake. Roads were washed out, bridges collapsed, schools were closed and two people lost their lives in the floods, which were the worst in more than a decade.

The Negev desert area, which was hit much harder than usual, received 100 percent of its average annual rainfall in just a few days, transforming dried up riverbeds into raging torrents and causing flash floods throughout the region. The water level in Lake Kinneret in the Galilee rose to more than three feet above the black line – the level at which withdrawing more water could cause environmental damage. The precise level isn’t known, however, as Water Authority employees are on strike.

The storms began in the middle of January, paused to give Israel a beautiful sunny weekend to enjoy the changed countryside, then resumed the following week bringing more torrential rain to the country, and dumping two feet of snow on the upper slopes of Mt. Hermon. The ski resort opened to visitors for the first time last week, though there still isn’t enough snow for skiing.

The badly-needed rain was welcomed by all. Israel is suffering a serious drought after several winters with little rain. While the stormy weather has somewhat augmented the country’s water supply, it remains seriously depleted.

The last storm brought with it unusually cold weather, as a system from Russia moved across Israel. In Jerusalem, temperatures fell to just above freezing. The weather warmed up this weekend, with temperatures reaching a ridiculous 26 degrees centigrade in the central region on Sunday, but more rain is predicted for later in the week.

We’ve put together a gallery of pictures of Israel in the rain for you to enjoy.

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