Last week’s storm in Israel was a record-breaker on many accounts.
Many areas in the country received between 8 and 12 inches of rain, an amount that occurs on average every 10 to 15 years.
• Rainfall in the north: 80% – 95% of the total annual average rainfall; 180% – 230% of the average rainfall for this time of the year
• Rainfall in central Israel: 70% – 85% of the annual average; 150% – 200% of the average for this time of the year
• Rainfall in the Negev Desert: 150% of the average rainfall for this time of year
There have been only four times in the last 50 years that rain has fallen for 6 to 7 days in a row, in 1965, 1969, 1992 and 1995.The level of the Kinneret Lake continues to rise as a result of the heavy precipitation. The Kinneret is Israel’s main source of water. The level rose by 35 inches in the past week, one of the sharpest recorded rises in such a short period of time. The Kinneret’s current level already has surpassed the highest level recorded last winter, and the estimates are that this year will be a really good one for the Kinneret. The Kinneret has risen a total of 57 inches since the beginning of the season. The Kinneret is expected to rise at a rate of 1 inch per day until the end of the season.
Other weather results: Snow: Snow has accumulated throughout the Galil and Golan in the North, and in Jerusalem and its environs, and even in the northern Negev. Such a heavy snow fall occurs every few years, the last such storm in 2008. Other storms in the past 15 years were in 2003, 2000 and 1998. Wind: Winds on Jan. 9 hit 63 to 69 mph in some places. In Jerusalem they hit 69 mph, beating the record in 2000 of 60 mph.
Damage: Many homes in the center were flooded as a result of the torrential rains. The Union of Local Authorities in Israel has estimated that the damage caused to infrastructure by the storm stands at 1 billion NIS ($260 million). The estimated damage caused to the financial sector is estimated at 300 million NIS ($65 million), 150 million lost due to the absence of workers who were unable to get to work because of the flooding on the roads.