Winter Storm Buffets Israel

A major storm buffeted Israel this week, dumping near record rainfall, blanketing Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in snow, blacking out power temporarily and causing at least one death.

The storm blew in Tuesday night and by the following evening had drenched Ben- Gurion Airport in 14 inches of rain, the highest level in 54 years, and about 80 percent of the annual average for that site, according to the Meteorological Service.

Searchers found the body of a driver in the Jerusalem hills, northwest of Ramallah, after his abandoned car was discovered at a bridge that crosses a usually dry river bed. Zafrir Welner, a school teacher in the village of Nahaliel, had been reported missing by his wife.

Police were still searching for an immigrant from the former Soviet Union whose car was found in a flooded road near Ness Ziona, north of Rehovot.

Flooding also curtailed rail traffic from Tel Aviv. The Yarkon River overflowed its banks, turning the soccer stadium in Ramat Gan into a huge pool after floods swept away an earth barrier built after storms last year.

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