RainIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Kinneret, or Sea of Galilee, rose by a whopping 18 centimeters (7 inches) in the course of Saturday, and is now only 3.21 meters short of the maximum level, at which authorities allow its water to flow southward, into the Jordan River and Dead Sea.

Since Thursday, the Kinneret's level has risen by 24 cm (9.5 inches), and it is expected to rise further in the next 24 hours. The Water Authority said that the rise sets a 10-year record for the month of December in the last ten years.

The head of the Kinneret Administration, Pinchas Green, told Arutz Sheva, "There has not been such a meaningful rise in such a short time for many years, and certainly not at this time of year. Usually it starts rising from mid-December, and this year the rise started as early as November."

Green noted that the soil became saturated at an early stage, causing the flooding to begin early as well. The soil requires about 150 mm of rain in order to reach saturation.

He explained that since Thursday, there has been heavy rain in all of the regions from which water flows to the Kinneret: Kiryat Shmona, the Golan Heights, the Naftali Mountains, Merom Hagalil and the Upper Galilee.

Green is not certain that the Kinneret will reach its topmost level this winter, but he noted that the Kinneret rose by 4.7 meters in the winter of 2003, and that it rose by 4 meters in 1992, with another 1.5 meters being allowed to flow out to the Dead Sea.

"Let us hope that the seven bad years are over and that we are approaching the seven good years," he said. "Perhaps this winter will provide a pleasant surprise."