Thursday, January 4, 2018

Will Israel be hit by a punishing storm?

After some four years of near-drought for Israel, 2018 has begun with a weather bang. Rain, flooding, mud and even snow in Israel's North (Yocheved Laufer, "2018 hits Israel by storm", jerusalempost, January 1, 2018) have descended upon the Jewish land. 

For four years, Israel has had 'not enough rain'. Now, after multiple public prayers for rain, Israel threatens to become very, very wet. 

The Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Yafo, Afula, Arad, Ariel, Ashdod, Beer-sheva, and most points in-between (that is, most of the country) all report forecasts of either rain, storm, thundershowers, thunderstorms or heavy rain for tonight-tomorrow. The cities of Beit Dagan and Haifa have already had half-an-inch of rain in a single two-hour period (Ahiya Raved, Ilana Curiel, "Israel rings in 2018 with heavy rainfall", bridgesforpeace, January 2,  2018). 

Please note, in a desert country like Israel that's not accustomed to or equipped for heavy rain, a half-inch in two hours is 'heavy'. Even the true-desert cities of Mitzpe Ramon  and Dimona have wet forecasts for tomorrow. In places like these, even light rain can have a 'heavy' (dangerous) effect. 

Just days into 2018, there's talk of road closures from flood, mudslide or too-slick roads (Kristina Pydynowski, "Rain to raise risk for localized flooding from Israel to southern Turkey for Friday", accuweather, January 4, 2018). We're being reminded about roads known to be susceptible to flash-flooding (Chana Roberts, "Israel faces stormy weekend, with chance of flooding", arutzsheva, January 4, 2018). 

We want rain. We need it (Mordechai Sones, "Water authority to farmers: we have no water left for you", arutzsheva, January 4, 2018). The problem is, too much rain too quickly might cause more harm than good. 

Tonight, suppertime in Israel, our family members return home from work (or pass through our home (metaphorically speaking) on their way to their own home). As each arrives, we hear reports of warnings they've heard during the day:

-don't leave home at all tomorrow (Friday); 

-don't drive--the roads will be too slippery;

-keep children home who would otherwise travel by van to school;

-make sure you zip, batten down and lock anything that might allow rain to seep into your home;

-don't even think about shopping tomorrow.

-make sure you stay dry.

Will these rains really come? Will Israel experience a gentle, multi-day nourishing rain tomorrow and Shabbat--or will the Jewish land be punished by a harsh and dangerous rainfall?  

More important, will the predicted rainfall be sufficient to help our farmers?

The answers to these questions, of course, can be found in the heavens. Stay tuned.

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