The first storm of the winter is arriving dramatically and slowly, but has already exacted a price. Police are searching for a Russian tourist who has gone missing off the Netanya coast, and electricity was cut off in several places. Most severely hit was Nitzan, the still-temporary neighborhood housing hundreds of Gush Katif Disengagement evacuees. Snow is falling on Mt. Hermon and is expected to spread.
The heavy winds of the deliberately-arriving storm knocked down two electric poles in the Nitzan site today, detaching electricity from many homes. By late Saturday night, electricity had been only partially restored.
Ashkelon Coast Region Mayor Yair Farjun expressed great frustration. "I am warning that there is a genuine danger here," he said. "The temporary site in Nitzan was not built for permanent residence, and the infrastructures are temporary. This 'summer camp' has been around for over five years already, and it's time for it to end. The Government of Israel has still not provided a solution for the residents."
Only some of the expected heavy rains fell in much of Israel today, but snow has begun falling, as of shortly before midnight Saturday-Sunday, at the Mt. Hermon IDF army base in northernmost Israel. Heavy rains are expected throughout northern and central Israel on Sunday, and more lightly in the Negev. Flooding can be expected in lower areas. The rains will continue on Monday, although less intensively. The storm, which at least one meteorologist said "makes up for the last two months in three days," thus brings the two-month Drought of 2010 to an end.