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Rainy Week Begins, Storm Shuts Down Trains, Highways

Israel begins what is anticipated to be a very rainy week with a storm that shuts down train stations, leaves drivers stranded.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/6/2013, 12:11 PM

Rainy night in Jerusalem (file)
Rainy night in Jerusalem (file)
Flash 90

Heavy rain and thunderstorms hit northern and central Israel Saturday and Sunday. The rain shut down multiple train stations on Sunday morning, the time of week when trains are most heavily used as many thousands of IDF soldiers return from their weekend leave.

Major roads were temporarily shut down in Herzliya, Rehovot and Bat Yam. In both Herzliya and Bat Yam firefighters and police had to rescue drivers who were trapped in rising flood waters on roads. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

The stormy weather and high waves also led to the closure of two platforms at the Haifa port.

Rains are expected to continue throughout the week. On Sunday rain will fall primarily in the north and along the coast, with possible sandstorms in the south. The rain is expected to spread overnight, reaching more of central Israel.

By Monday, the rain is expected to hit most of the country. Temperatures will remain low, and the Hermon will continue to see snow. There will be a flash flood alert near rivers in the south, in the Jordan Valley and the Judean desert. Floods may hit along the coast as well.

On Tuesday rain is expected to continue intermittently in the north and along the coast, then to spread southward as evening approaches.

The heavy rainfall has been very good for the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel’s largest single source of fresh water. The lake, which was dangerously low two years ago following years of dry weather, is now on track to hit a 20-year high.

The surface of the Kinneret rose by 6.5 centimeters over the weekend as the rains began.