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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rain’

Severe Rains In Gaza May Mean Terror Tunnels Are Flooded

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Published on Jewish Business News

The UN Palestine refugee agency UNRWA on Thursday evening declared a state of emergency in Gaza City amid massive rains that have shut down normal life in the city, Ma’an reported. This could also mean damage to the hundreds of underground tunnels that are still being dug fastidiously by Hamas, in preparation for the next war.

Thursday marks the fourth straight day of unusually heavy rain across the region, causing temperatures to dip across the coastal region.

In early November, the Egyptian army launched a program to destroy newly discovered hundreds of tunnels leading from Gaza into the Sinai, which had been used by Gaza jihadists to attack Egyptian security forces. In only a matter of days, the Egyptians cleared 10,000 residents from about 800 homes along the strip’s southern border, to erect an 8-mile buffer where anyone entering would be shot without a warning.

Unlike Israel, the Egyptians can be decisive on fighting terrorism, and they don’t catch international flak for it, either.

Since Israel evacuated its military and civilians from Gaza, in 2005, the PLO and then the Hamas governments have not invested a penny in upgrading the sewer systems and the roads, and so each rainy season sees the strip sitting under lakes of water and human waste. The major storm that brought a blessing to Israel this past week has filled the streets of Gaza City once again with water and sewage, causing further misery for the more than 100,000 Palestinians left homeless, including an estimated 30,000 in emergency shelters.

UNRWA announced that 63 schools across Gaza City and 43 schools across the northern Gaza Strip had been closed Thursday due to the flooding.

Hundreds of residents in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City had also been evacuated due to the rise of a “storm water lagoon” that had flooded many homes in the area.

“The flooding is exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza caused by blockade and the unprecedented destruction from the latest Israeli offensive,” the UN agency said in a post on its Facebook page.

Back in 2013, Egyptian forces flooded the tunnels under the border with the Gaza Strip in a campaign to shut them down. A Reuters reporter saw one tunnel suddenly fill with water, sending workers rushing for safety. Locals said two other tunnels were also flooded, as the Egyptians were deliberately pumping in water.

“The Egyptians have opened the water to drown the tunnels,” Abu Ghassan, who supervised the work of 30 men at one tunnel, 200 yards from the border, told Reuters. And an Egyptian security official in the Sinai told Reuters: “We are using water to close the tunnels by raising water from one of the wells.”

But when it rains heavily, as it did this week, Gaza is prone to severe flooding, leading to the displacement of thousands. The floods are exacerbated by a chronic lack of fuel that limits how much water can be pumped out of flood-stricken areas.

Which means that the effect the Egyptians achieved by diverting well water into the tunnels is now achieved by natural forces.

The tunnels into Israel were constructed using the expertise of the Rafah families who have specialized in digging tunnels into Egypt for commerce and smuggling, and have been described by former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya as representative of “a new strategy in confronting the occupation and in the conflict with the enemy from underground and from above the ground.”

The Israeli military has estimated that Hamas spent as much as $90 million, pouring 600,000 tons of concrete, in building three dozen tunnels. Some of these tunnels were estimated to have cost $3 million to construct.

First Snow Falls on the Hermon

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The first snow of the year fell on the upper slopes of the Hermon Tuesday, the Kinneret began to rise slowly and hopefully dramatically, and the forecast for the rest of the week is rain, rain and more rain.

Up to four inches of rain has been predicted in some northern and western areas of the country. Unlike the first rain that fell last month, the central Negev south to Eilat are not likely to see more than a few drops.

The rest of the country already has recorded up to double the average rainfall for this time of year, and by those numbers will rise by the end of the week of the forecast are correct.

Israel’s water desalination system has made the country less dependent on the Kinneret, where the shoreline has been receding for most of the past two decades following the record-breaking winters of 1991-1993 during which time the dams were opened to prevent flooding of Tiberias and roads and communities situated on the lake.

However, the low level of the lake has forced the Water Authority to pump more water from underground aquifers, the country’s largest water source, seriously depleting them. The Kinneret now is a fraction of an inch from the “red line,” which is 213 meters below earth and 4.2 meters below the level at which dams would have to be opened to prevent flooding.

The chances of that happening are slim, unless Israel gets drenched as it did in 1991-92.

Last year, a wicked snowstorm hit the country in December, much earlier than usual, and everyone was calculating that the Kinneret would be full by the end of the year,

But God reminded us that He and not the weather forecasters and Kinneret watchers bring rain. Israel went through one of the worst – meaning dry – winter on record after the early snow, so we are simply going to remain optimistic but not jump the gun this time.

Some weather models predicted that November would be wetter than normal but that December will be dry.

The models have a poor record of accuracy. The first part of the prediction has been on the money, and it is hoped that the second part will be wrong.

Below is a map showing the percent of rain fall for this time of year. The Western Negev has received three times the normal amount.

Map shows that most of Israel has received far more than the usual amount o rain for this time of year.

Map shows that most of Israel has received far more than the usual amount o rain for this time of year.

 

 

V’ten Tal Umatar Livracha Started Today

Friday, October 31st, 2014

As of today, the 7th of Cheshvan in the Jewish calendar, Jews in Israel will start inserting the formal request for rain in the 9th blessing of the thrice-daily Amidah prayer. Thus will officially begin the rainy season in Israel, which will go on until the first day of Passover.

And guess what! It’s raining today.

Even though Jews everywhere pray for rain on Shmini Atzeret (Tishrei 22), we don’t ask that it begin right away.

In Israel, this request is inserted on the 7th of Cheshvan, based on the view of Rabban Gamliel, who says prayer for rain should be suspended until fifteen days after the festival of Sukkot, so that the last Jewish pilgrims returning home to Babylon from Jerusalem will reach the River Euphrates and not be delayed by the rain and the muddy roads.

In the Diaspora, we wait until December 4th to start asking for rain, based the opinion of Chananiah who says that in the Diaspora we do not begin to pray for rain until the sixtieth day after the fall holidays.

Rain in Jerusalem

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

It’s raining today in Jerusalem, the first major rain storm of the new year.

Wet and Stormy Winter Ahead

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Israel’s Water Authority has published its winter weather forecast.

According to the forecast, the months of October to January will be stormy and wet, with a lot of rain.

Stormy, we were expecting, one way or another.

But a lot of rain will be a blessing.

 

Unexpected Downpour Swells Lake Kinneret, Creates Havoc in Israel

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The sun peeked out just long enough Thursday afternoon for Israelis to see the flooding caused by the “sound and light show” they endured over Wednesday night.

Cracks of thunder and long streaks of lightning interspersed with the downpour that sent sheets of rain down through the skies over Israel, drenching the entire country.

Downpours at this time of year are unusual but not unheard of, meteorologist said. By mid-afternoon Thursday, the skies in southern Israel were once again filled with leaden clouds that appeared once more to be pregnant with rain. It was not clear whether in fact more precipitation was on the way; the forecast calls for the possibility for rain, continuing even into as Friday morning.

Rain is considered a blessing in this part of the world no matter when it arrives. There has been a 2.5-centimeter (one inch) rise in the water level of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) as a result of the record-breaking downpour.

But some may have seen it as a mixed blessing: Fifteen members of the Bnei Akiva youth group were trapped in a southern Israeli parking lot due to the flooding. They were rescued by special teams and evacuated from the scene by helicopter. IDF vehicles prepared to enter the area to help evacuate remaining hikers who had been touring in the area.

Bezeq phone lines were still down around the Dead Sea area at midday and service was sporadic at best.

Cell phone companies were scrambling to restore service in the central region. In the Jerusalem area, Cellcom customers reported all kinds of difficulties in placing their calls and in sending text messages Thursday afternoon.

The company had not formulated a response to the complaints by mid-afternoon.

Further south, near Eilat, Route 90 was still closed to traffic by late afternoon due to flash flooding that swamped the road after a night of thunder and lightning that swept Israel from north to south. Route 31, which had been closed earlier in the day, is now open.

Thunderstorms Strike Israel

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The blessing for rain may have been left behind for the winter season, but the Heavens re-opened on Wednesday night anyway with additional blessings for the Land of Israel.

The entire country was hit and the rainstorms that began overnight are carrying on through Thursday and expected to continue possibly into Friday. Storms of this intensity are unusual in Israel in May, but not unheard of.

Communities in Gush Etzion were left without power overnight. Main highways were shut down due to flooding around the Dead Sea and in the northeastern Negev city of Arad at least one home was flooded due to cracks in a ceiling where the roof gave way.

There were also reports of numerous Bezeq telephone lines being knocked out at the southern end of the Dead Sea, in the Ein Bokek area, due to flooding in the region.

Israeli rescue teams are warning the public about the dangers of trying to cross flooded terrain across the country. Even if the flow of the waters appears to be weak, warned officials, there is simply no way to measure the water’s depth and strength.

Waves can be intense and suddenly rise to flip a car over, officials explained. Floods also loosen rocks, which can easily trap a car within the flow of the water. If a driver encounters a flood while driving, he or she is advised to wait until the rush of the water has stopped entirely before continuing to drive. Failing that option, turn around and head back. Better safe than sorry, in all cases.

Anyone who requires assistance is advised to dial 100, the Israel Police.

Due to the flooding, Route 90 is still closed to traffic in both directions from the Dergot Peaks to the hotel strip at Ein Bokek. The same road has been shut down at the northern end of the Dead Sea up to the Arava Junction as well. Traffic police are deployed at both locations to head off unwary travelers.

In addition, Route 31 heading down to the Dead Sea has also been closed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/thunderstorms-strike-israel/2014/05/08/

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