Prayers for rain seemed to have been answered this week as the heavens over Israel opened up this week bringing much needed rain to the drought-stricken region. Beginning on Tuesday and continuing steadily for two days, the heavy rains were accompanied by falling temperatures.
Most of the rain fell in the north, revitalizing the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) the main source of Israel’s drinking water. The level of the Kinneret on Wednesday was recorded at 214.24 meters, up 22cm (8.66 inches) in the past week.
Israel is an arid country with about 70 percent of the average rain falling between November and March. Rainfall in December broke a 30-year record and precipitation in the north and center of Israel are currently at 60-80 percent of its annual precipitation. Over the last two days, 7.3 inches of rain fell. Northern Israel has currently exceeded normal rainfall for this period, with most places in the north recording upwards of 150 percent of the average rainfall.
Israel has suffered five years in a row of below-average rainfall, leading to dangerously low water levels in the Kinneret. Last summer, the drought in Israel was the worst in 100 years leading to an outbreak of wildfires exacerbated by incendiary aerial attacks from Gaza that burned many fields and nature reserves in southern Israel.
As a result of the drought, special prayer services were held all over Israel and special prayers were recited.
In addition to rain, the north of Israel was blessed with snow. Mount Hermon reported snow this week, with snow levels five feet at the summit and four feet on the lower slopes. The resort’s ski runs are expected to open this weekend after the current snowstorms abate.
“Today’s rains don’t erase the last five years,” said Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor. “We expect this year to be average rainfall, or higher than average. It doesn’t make the drought issue worse, but it also doesn’t fix it.”