TEL AVIV (Dec. 30)
Roads, throughout southern Israel are slowly being reopened for traffic after the heaviest rains for 20 years ripped out road-ways and left towns and settlements stranded last weekend. The flash floods filling formerly dry river beds within seconds caused two deaths lost weekend, including a 22-year-old French tourist and a two-year-old child snatched from its father’s arms when their truck overturned and was swept away.
Police had warned motorists to keep off the roods, but many drivers disregarded their instructions and had to be rescued by army half-track vehicles and helicopters.
The Arkia Inland Airline flew special fights to and from Eilat to rescue tourists stranded at the country’s southern beach resort area, cut off from rood communications.
The meteorological service said that over an inch-and-a-half of rain which fell in Eilat during 24 hours was 150 percent of the annual average. It said the downpour fell from dense clouds brought from tropical Africa by a high-level 200-mile on hour jet stream.