The relentless rain paused and the sun made a brief appearance round about lunchtime today – for just enough time to permit me to dash down to the makolet (מכולת – accent on the second syllable) – the grocery store – and stock up on essentials such as bread and milk, in anticipation of the promised snow tomorrow. There was, however, no let-up in the bone-chilling cold or the vicious, biting wind which is, even now, howling through the tree tops, carrying with it dried leaves, old newspapers, roof tiles, fallen branches – and which, the night before last, plucked the mesh screen from one of my windows and hurled it, aluminium frame and all, into the garden, four floors below. It’s fortunate that it didn’t hit anyone!
Yes, winter has returned and the past three days have been a more or less endless succession of myriad shades of grey. The dark grey, almost black, lowering bank of cloud over the village of Tsur Bacher (seen below)
Occasionally, the sun struggles to make a brief appearance among the clouds:
In town, the overflowing storm drains have turned streets into rivers:
The Ayalon Highway (Netivei Ayalon), the main freeway between Tel Aviv and the Capital, Jerusalem, was closed for several hours this morning in both directions, due to flooding and the Traffic Police called on citizens to refrain from motoring into Tel Aviv except in case of emergency! Other roads, as well as several sections of the railway, were also closed.
There is no immediate respite in sight. The stormy weather is expected to reach its zenith tomorrow night, and to continue into Thursday, petering off towards the weekend. Meanwhile, it’s hard to sleep at night. The storm-shutters shake and rattle in the high winds and the double-glazing does not suffice to shut out the sounds of the tempest, the mournful cry of the roaring winds, banging objects together and whistling around the house, and the steady drumming of the rain (sometimes hail) on the windows.
Yet there is a positive side to all this – the Kinneret is now only two metres short of its maximum level and whereas, in past years, all the talk has been of the fact that the lake has fallen several metres below the Red Line, the authorities are now predicting that they will have to open the dams and release water into the River Jordan.
We never do anything by halves here in Israel .