(Illustration) Reuters

Heaven has answered the newly introduced prayers for rain that began in Israel on Thursday, Shemini Atzeret – in spades. Major thunderstorms whooshed through the center of the country Sunday night, downing trees and causing power disruptions in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and points in between.

Debris fell on Road 1, the main thoroughfare into Jerusalem near the Shoresh junction, causing massive traffic delays in both directions. A tree fell onto Namir Boulevard in Tel Aviv, causing a massive traffic backup during the heart of rush hour. Numerous trees were down in Herzliya, causing damage to cars and power lines. No one was injured in any of the incidents.

During one of the storms, sustained winds were measured at 80 kilometer per hour (more than 50 miles per hour), and Tel Aviv measured 17 millimeters of rain in one hour. Rain fell in much of the rest of the country Sunday, with 11 millimeters recorded in the northern city of Tzefat, and 14 millimeters on the Golan Heights. In Jerusalem, 10 millimeters of rain were recorded as having fallen.

Meteorologists said that the storm was a sure sign of the changing of the seasons – the result of warm southern air clashing with cool air from the north, which will become more predominant in the region in the coming weeks. Rain is expected throughout the night, with the storm center moving southward as the night progresses.

Rain is expected to fall intermittently Monday until the afternoon hours, when the weather will clear and somewhat warmer temperatures will return, at least temporarily.