Thursday, January 10, 2013

Israel's Sandy

Israel has not had a super-storm as bad as Sandy was on the east coast of the USA, but we have had record-breaking rainy weather in the past week.  It has rained hard and consistently for about 5 days, with more expected and snow fell in Jerusalem (10 cm) last night.  The main barometer of rain in Israel is Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) that after 7 years of drought was down to its minimum (3 meters or 9 feet below the red line) and now it has already reached 1 meter below its maximum.  This has been the rainiest winter season in 10 years and it's a great boon for our usually dry country. 
The main artery around Tel Aviv is the Ayalon Highway (equivalent to the N. Circular in London or the Beltway in Washington) that is built over the usually small Ayalon stream.  Now it is a raging torrent and has overflowed the highway and made it into a river.  All traffic in Tel Aviv is diverted and it is a mess.  Also the trains which run along that route were stopped due to the undemining of the rails, cutting service throughout the country.  The police have asked everyone to stay home, fine by me since I'm still recovering from my cold.
In Jerusalem all events have been cancelled and snow fell last night with a big dip in temperatures to below zero.  They have sand trucks standing running, but everyone knows the city will come to a halt.  Ironically the snow attracts visitors from all over the country to see Jerusalem in the snow and this leads to terrible traffic jams.  The River Jordan that is usually ca. 15 m across is now up to 150 m and growing and there is flooding in all low-lying areas.   Best to stay home for a few days until better weather forecast for the weekend arrives.  Keep warm and dry.


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