Rare Sukkos Storm Soaks Yerushalayim, Coastal Towns

People protect themselves from the rain as they walk on Jaffa Street in downtown Yerushalayim on Monday, during the first rain of the winter. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Three days before Jews officially begin asking for it, heavy rains fell in many parts of Israel, with winds shaking sukkos and lightning and thunder sending people back into their homes, at least temporarily. Power was lost in numerous cities and towns for a time, and in Hadera power was out throughout the morning. A cloudburst at about 8 a.m. flooded many streets in Tel Aviv, with suddenly-inundated drainage systems overwhelmed, with water backing up into the streets. Haifa, where 11 millimeters of rain fell, as well as other coastal towns, also experienced flooding Monday morning.

Forecasters called the rare Sukkos storm the first official “winter storm,” although that season is still officially months away, due to the wind and cloud patterns that formed over the Mediterranean as it blew onto land. Rains began late Sunday, hitting the Golan Heights first, with 17 millimeters of rain reported in just about an hour. Rain is expected throughout Monday as far south as the Negev, with most of it concentrated on coastal areas.

The weather will clear up by Tuesday afternoon, just in time for tens of thousands to gather at the Kosel throughout the night Tuesday for Hoshanna Rabbah. Hoshanna Rabbah and Shemini Atzeres are expected to have clear skies and seasonal temperatures.