January 2014 has been one of the driest Januaries on record, the Israeli Meteorological Service reports.
The paucity of rainfall was particularly notable in the Tel Aviv region, where the past month’s precipitation was the lowest on record. Rainfall over the month was recorded at 5-15 millimeters in the central and southern coastal area, compared to a normal monthly average, in January, of 120-150 millimeters of rain.
The shortage of rain stood out in the Jordan Valley and Beit Shean as well: there, no rain fell for the entire month for the first time since 1955.
The central Galilee saw the most rain in January with 35-55 millimeters of precipitation. Even there, the average rainfall was less than one-third of the annual average for the month, which stands at 170-230 millimeters.
Elsewhere in the Galilee, and in the Golan, rainfall stood at 20-30 millimeters for the month, compared to a normal January average of 150-200 millimeters.
In some parts of northern and southern Israel this January was one of the driest on record, with just 1-3 dryer months of January recorded since records began.
Rain began late in the 2013-2014 rainy season, as well; Israel’s Chief Rabbis urged the public to pray for rain as weather remained warm and sunny into late November. A major winter storm in early December brought heavy precipitation, but was followed by several unusually dry weeks.