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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Tel Aviv's Ayalon Freeway closed due to flooding for the first time since 1992

How much rain have we been having? The picture above is a more-or-less normal view of Tel Aviv's Ayalon Freeway during the winter. Note the train tracks on the left side of the picture. This view is heading northbound.

During our first winter here, in January 1992, there were three snowstorms in Jerusalem, and torrential rains in Tel Aviv and elsewhere. The Ayalon flooded each of those three times (and so many moronic Israeli drivers insisted on driving on it anyway that the insurance companies announced after the first storm that they would not cover anyone whose car was totaled due to flooding on the Ayalon that was already there when they got on the highway). I was commuting (by bus) from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv at the time....

During the summer of 1992, the government dredged the bottom of the Ayalon river (that's what runs down the middle of the highway) to make sure that we wouldn't have flooding on the highway again. And for 21 years, we haven't had flooding on the highway. Until now. Here's a video from a short while ago that was apparently taken in one of the train stations along the Ayalon.

Let's go to the videotape.



Yes, the Ayalon Freeway is closed because the Ayalon River (to the left of the train station - this is a southbound view) has gone over its banks, is threatening the train tracks and has gone onto the highway at far left.
The Highway's southbound and northbound lanes were closed to traffic from the Glilot interchange just north of Tel Aviv to the south Tel Aviv Kibbutz Galuyot interchange.
Southbound lanes on nearby Namir road were also closed due to flooding, from Levinsky College of Education to the Kibbutzim College. Police were instructing the public to take alternative routes, such as Route 4, or to reach Tel Aviv only in urgent cases. The closure of the Ayalon Highway caused heavy traffic throughout central Tel Aviv. 

...

Israel Railways announced on Tuesday morning that many stations are closed due to flooding, including stations in Jerusalem - Lod and Netanya blocks.
Israel Radio reported that there is a flood in Tel Aviv Hagana Station, which is also closed. The public has been urged to use the trains only in urgent cases,
Temperatures continued to drop to colder than usual all over the country, according to Israel Meteorological Services (IMS), with showers in the North and center of the country with thunderstorms and very strong winds.
According to the IMS, it is unseasonably cold, with a strong risk of floods and flash flooding.
In the afternoon the rain will spread to the South. By the evening, it will be rainy and stormy in most of Israel, with snow over the high peaks of the central mountains.
Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) rose 22 centimeters within 24 hours, which is a new record for this time period, Army Radio reported on Tuesday.
Snow continued to fall over the Hermon, with 15 centimeters of snow piling up in the area’s ski resort.  The Mount Hermon manager told Army Radio on Tuesday that he hopes the ski resort could open for visitors over the weekend.

...

On Wednesday, snow is expected to fall in the tops of mountains in the north and center, including in Jerusalem and a chance of snow over the Negev Mountain.
Continuing throughout the week, showers and storms are expected in nearly all of Israel, along with extremely strong winds. Tempertures will drop further as it becomes extremely cold.
Okay, they're exaggerating. The 'extremely cold' predictions I have seen for Jerusalem are 28-30 degrees Fahrenheit during the night Wednesday night, but with strong winds. And keep in mind that our buildings are mostly built from stone so they stay cool in the summer. While we have heat in the house, it's not very effective, and we have not yet turned it on (we probably will by tomorrow), preferring to add sweaters and to sleep under warm blankets instead. And yes, it's a fortune to run....

But what an awesome winter. And it's still early January.

UPDATE 11:28 AM

Here's a much better picture from earlier today.



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1 Comments:

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Well, the Jewish National Fund could be doing a big fundraiser right now. We've donated repeatedly based on their fabulous water projects (along with the trees they are famous for!). I hope they have all the valves open to fill the reservoirs they've built over the years. Cheaper than running the desal and recycle at full tilt. Here are some of their projects:

http://www.jnf.org/work-we-do/our-projects/water/water-projects/water-projects.html

 

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