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Jerusalem - Chaos In Israel As Rain And Winds Pound The Country (photos)

Published on: January 7, 2013 08:10 AM
Last updated on: January 7, 2013 11:49 AM
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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men wear plastic covers over their black Fedora hats as they stand at a bus stop nearby an election poster showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel, 07 January 2013, during a winter storm. EPA/JIM HOLLANDERUltra-Orthodox Jewish men wear plastic covers over their black Fedora hats as they stand at a bus stop nearby an election poster showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel, 07 January 2013, during a winter storm. EPA/JIM HOLLANDER

Jerusalem - Rainfall from Friday night through noon on Sunday already amounted to between 70 and 100 millimeters in the central Coastal Plain, 40 to 70 millimeters in the Galilee and 20 to 25 millimeters in the Jerusalem region, Dr. Amos Porat, director of the Climate Department at the Israel Meteorological Service, told The Jerusalem Post.

People should brace themselves for large amounts of rainfall in the next few days, as well as very strong winds – particularly on Monday morning – and snowfall later this week in Jerusalem, Porat said. The snow, he said, is expected from Wednesday afternoon through noon on Thursday.

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The weekend’s rainfall wreaked havoc on part’s of the central region, with the Herzliya train station shut down until further notice due to massive flooding. After a nearby stream overflowed into the station, leading to the collapse of the drainage system, the station’s underground passage and the entire area around the site were flooded – including nearby roads and the parking lot, Israel Railways said.

Israel Railways is operating a pump to drain the area in an effort to resume normal service as soon as possible, but until then, will provide alternative transportation between the Herzliya Station and the Tel Aviv Savidor Central Station in both directions.

Meanwhile, the Kinneret basin is seeing continued improvement in its water levels. As of Sunday morning, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) was 211.82 meters below sea level, 3.02 meters away from being full, according to Water Authority data. During the month of December alone, the water level rose by 50 centimeters, beginning January at 211.90 meters below sea level.

The Water Authority’s Hydrological Services called this rise “exceptional,” the biggest December rise since 1994. Half of that increase occurred over the course of three days, during the heavy rain that occurred from December 20 to 23.

In the capital, not only was it raining, but residents are anticipating the possible arrival of a winter wonderland – for the second year in a row.

The Jerusalem Municipality ramped up preparation for the storm expected to slam into the city this week, with winds of more than 80 kilometers per hour and perhaps snow. The city recommended that people check their heating systems to ensure they are working properly and make sure there are no leaks in their roofs or windows.

View of a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90View of a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The capital could experience snow on Wednesday afternoon if the storm retains its strength over the coming days.

Jerusalem has only experienced snow once in the past three years – last year. Ahead of the storm, the municipality will increase the number of operators answering the city hotline, *106, who can respond to storm-related inquires including regarding downed trees.

Any school cancellations will be announced over local media, the city said.

The National Road Safety Authority warned people to take precautions when driving and walking against the exceptionally intense rainfall, strong winds and possible snow.

“Alongside the joy of welcome rains, it is important to remember that wetness and winds make driving more difficult and less safe,” the authority said. “In the winter weather, conditions and road conditions are harsher – visibility is limited, roads are slippery and wet, various vehicle systems behave differently and it is harder to notice pedestrians.”

Top on the Road Safety Authority’s winter weather tips list is driving slower in the stormy weather – at least 20 kilometers per hour less in low visibility and at least 30 to 40 kilometers per hour less during rainy periods. Maintaining a greater distance from surrounding vehicles is also critical, as is breaking with moderate force, to prevent the wheels from locking and sliding.

The authority also warned against passing other vehicles during periods of limited visibility, and paying special attention to pedestrians crossing the street, particularly near parks and schools. It is required by law to turn on vehicle lights between November 1 and March 31 each year, and drivers should also ensure that all of their safety systems – such as brakes, tires, wipers and steering – are functioning properly before heading out on the road.

Floods seen near Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013. Photo by Gershon Elinson/FLASH90Floods seen near Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013. Photo by Gershon Elinson/FLASH90

The Road Safety Authority encouraged pedestrians to be especially on guard, taking precautions such as wearing bright and reflective clothing when visibility is low. Where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk against the flow of traffic in order to be able to see approaching vehicles, the authority said. Looking both ways when crossing the street is critical, and if a crosswalk light changes from green to red while a walker is midway across the street, he or she must continue walking.

Pedestrians must refrain from using distracting devices such as mp3 music players and mobile phones when crossing the street, the Road Safety Authority stressed, and when there is no crosswalk, the pedestrian should choose a spot to cross that has the most visibility possible.

The South is experiencing high air pollution levels due to the sand and dust storms created by the windy weather, the Environmental Protection Ministry warned. Areas of particular concern include the Negev, the Coastal Plain, the Shfela basin, Jerusalem and Judea, the ministry said.

Sensitive populations – such as those with heart disease, lung disease, pregnant women, the elderly, and young children – should refrain from strenuous physical activities in the region, the ministry said. As the rain spread southward starting on Sunday night, the dust pollution was expected to decrease, the ministry added.

Because flooding and heavy winds were expected in the South Sunday night through Monday, agriculturalists in the Arava and the Hevel Eilot region were reinforcing their greenhouses and bracing their crops.

The central Arava has 506 farms, covering over 3,500 hectares of agricultural land and producing 60 percent of the country’s fresh agricultural exports – particularly to Europe, according to Arava Research and Development, based at Yair Station near Hatzeva.

View of a car damaged by a tree which fell due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90View of a car damaged by a tree which fell due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90

Floods often damage the greenhouses, but they are also the main source of water for residents of the region, which receives only about 40 millimeters of rain each year, explained Ami Shacham, CEO of the Arava Drainage Authority. The floodwaters fill the aquifers used by farmers and also improve water quality, Shacham added.

Despite the forecasts for heavy rains, however, he said that they will probably not be enough to fill the aquifers for the year.

Eilon Gadiel, director of Arava Research and Development, stressed that farmers must reinforce their greenhouses as well as their trellised crop installations.

“It is reasonable to assume that such winds will harm greenhouses and crops,” Gadiel said. “We must understand that these are exceptional winds in their intensity and we must prepare for them.”


Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post

Israeli military bulldozers remove the snow in a street at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)Israeli military bulldozers remove the snow in a street at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)
Israeli soldiers play with the snow at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)Israeli soldiers play with the snow at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)
Israeli soldiers walk next to Israeli Military bulldozers removing the snow at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)Israeli soldiers walk next to Israeli Military bulldozers removing the snow at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)
A man walk next to Israeli military bulldozers removing the snow in a street at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)A man walk next to Israeli military bulldozers removing the snow in a street at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)
Israeli soldier shovels snow off a path  the snow at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)Israeli soldier shovels snow off a path the snow at Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli, Syrian border on 07 January 2013. A stormy weather is continuing to cause damage throughout the country, with temperatures expected to be low. (Credit: EPA)
A 'do not swim' sign partly submerged by waves during heavy storms on the beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, 07 January 2013. A storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. (Credit: EPA)A ‘do not swim’ sign partly submerged by waves during heavy storms on the beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, 07 January 2013. A storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. (Credit: EPA)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wearing a special plastic rain covering his Fedora hat in a rain storm, as he crosses a central street in Jerusalem, Israel, 07 January 2013. A massive winter storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. (Credit: EPA)An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wearing a special plastic rain covering his Fedora hat in a rain storm, as he crosses a central street in Jerusalem, Israel, 07 January 2013. A massive winter storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. (Credit: EPA)
Israelis riding in the Light Rail trolley in the center of Jerusalem on a stormy, wet and cold day in Israel, 07 January 2013. A storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. (Credit: EPA)Israelis riding in the Light Rail trolley in the center of Jerusalem on a stormy, wet and cold day in Israel, 07 January 2013. A storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. (Credit: EPA)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men wear plastic covers over their black Fedora hats as they stand at a bus stop nearby an election poster showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel, 07 January 2013, during a winter storm. A massive winter storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. Israelis will go to the polls on January 22. (Credit: EPA)Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men wear plastic covers over their black Fedora hats as they stand at a bus stop nearby an election poster showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel, 07 January 2013, during a winter storm. A massive winter storm has hit the eastern Mediterranean coast and heavy rains with flooding are forecast in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the next couple of days, with a good chance of snow falling in the higher elevations. Israelis will go to the polls on January 22. (Credit: EPA)
Water floods at the Modi'in mall due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013.  (Credit: Flash90)Water floods at the Modi’in mall due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013.  (Credit: Flash90)
Water floods at the Modi'in mall due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013.  (Credit: Flash90)Water floods at the Modi’in mall due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013.  (Credit: Flash90)
View of a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)View of a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)
View of a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storms in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: FLASH90)View of a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storms in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: FLASH90)
Jerusalem municipality workers remove a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)Jerusalem municipality workers remove a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)
Jerusalem municipality workers remove a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)Jerusalem municipality workers remove a large tree which fell on the middle of the street due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)
View of a car damaged by a tree which fell due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)View of a car damaged by a tree which fell due to heavy storm in Jerusalem. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)
Floods seen near the train station in Tel Aviv due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)Floods seen near the train station in Tel Aviv due to heavy rain and storm. January 07, 2013. (Credit: Flash90)

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1

 Jan 07, 2013 at 09:32 AM Wannabe Says:

Yay! Gishmeh bracha!!

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 Jan 07, 2013 at 10:35 AM NeveAliza Says:

Reply to #1  
Wannabe Says:

Yay! Gishmeh bracha!!

Not for the owner of the car.

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