January Dry Spell Breaks Records


A spectacularly wet and snowy December was followed by a dry January that in some places in Israel broke records for lack of precipitation, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

“The month of January ended aridly in an extreme manner,” a statement from the Water Authority said. “In some places it was the driest ever since Meteorological Services began taking measurements.”

The Yerushalayim region, Yehuda and Shomron, the country’s center and the northern tip were the driest.

Nationwide the country has received only about 64 percent of its average annual rainfall since this winter, the Water Authority said.

During January, the Kineret’s water level only rose 4.3 inches, while that of the Dead Sea dropped 3.1 inches, according to the Water Authority’s Hydrological Services.

As of February 1, the Kineret reached only 633 feet below sea level, reflecting the “abnormal cessation in rains” that carried on from mid-December through nearly all of January, the Water Authority said.

In the 88 years since Hydrological Services has been measuring the Kineret’s available water volume, it was only this low in January of 2009, the authority said.

While for most stations the IMS has data covering the past 70 years, some places have records extending back for more than 90 years.

Amos Porat, director of the IMS Climate Department, told the Post that the arid period has been caused by a phenomenon called “blocking,” in which most of the rainfall systems were “stuck” in Western Europe.

While Israel received unusually fair and dry weather, countries like Britain and France received heavy rainfall and stormy weather.

The outlook isn’t much better. “After a dry January, February doesn’t look good either,” he said.

“We don’t see a significant weather system in the coming week. However, these systems might come later.”