Gishmei Brachah Bring Up to a Third of Annual Rainfall in Some Places

The Ayalon River overflows and the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv is closed for traffic during the heavy winter storm across Israel, on Friday. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The wet and wild weekend in Israel brought loads of gishmei brachah to much of the country, with some places getting a third or even more of their annual rainfall levels. Heavy rain fell in many parts of the country almost nonstop from Thursday through Motzoei Shabbos.

Yerushalayim saw 92 millimeters of rain, while in the center of the country, 126 millimeters were measured. In Ashdod, 129 millimeters of rain were measured since Thursday morning. Haifa got 101 millimeters, Tel Aviv 135, and the Yavne area 221 millimeters.

The rains caused most of the riverbeds (nechalim) to flow strongly, and the Kinneret rose 4 centimeters, although the lake is still over a meter below what officials consider to be the minimum normal level. Many of the riverbeds overflowed their banks, causing flooding on many highways – including the Ayalon Expressway in Tel Aviv, which was closed for several hours Friday, causing monumental traffic jams that forced many to cancel their plans to spend Shabbos with friends and relatives.

The storm was also responsible for one death. A worker at a factory in the Atarot industrial zone in Yerushalayim died after a concrete wall collapsed on him. Investigators attributed the collapse to the weakening of the wall by heavy rain. Police said that the wall was part of a structure that had been illegally built and had not been inspected to ensure that it was safe.