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      Wettest Winter in 5 Years Brings Kinneret Over Red Line

      The Kinneret lake has floated up from a dangerous drop in water levels thanks to the latest downpour in the wettest winter in five years.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 2/28/2010, 10:27 PM / Last Update: 3/1/2010, 7:16 AM

      Flash 90

      The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) has floated up from a dangerous drop in water levels thanks to the largest rainfall to hit Israel in five years. Several days of heavy rains have left most regions of the country with a higher-than-average accumulated rainfall and have brought the Kinneret above the “red line,” the level that is warning sign the lake is approaching a point where it is potentially dangerous to draw water.

      The “red line” is located 213 meters below sea level. In recent years, the government added a “black line,” at 215 meters below sea level, beyond which water absolutely should not be drawn.

      In 2009, the water level in the Kinneret sunk to 214.37 meters below sea level following five years of drought and was dangerously close to the black line at the end of last summer. However, the reservoir still lacks 13 feet of water before dams would have to opened to prevent local flooding.

      Water Authority officials said Sunday that the Kinneret had risen by more than nine centimeters since Thursday. The heavy rains that began falling late last week caused flooding in the Arava region, and left most northern areas and the northern and central Negev with an annual accumulated rainfall more than 100 percent of the average for the entire season. Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva and Tel Aviv have received nearly 100 percent of their average accumulated rainfall this year.

      Forecasters predict that scattered showers will continue Monday, followed by warmer and drier weather the rest of the week, with the exception of the possibility of light rain in the north on Wednesday.