Israel’s first winter storm causes damage


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s first real winter storm caused major damage throughout the country, especially to the Tel Aviv beachfront and an ancient pier in Caesarea.

Heavy rains and damaging winds of up to 75 miles per hour in a storm that began Sunday and continued into the next day caused huge waves to wash up on Tel Aviv beaches, breaking restaurant windows, tossing cafe furniture and scattering a thick layer of sand along the Promenade in Tel Aviv.

The storm caused a modern-day sea wall protecting the popular Caesarea archeological site to fall early Sunday, exposing the walls of the ancient port and raising fears that the waves crashing on the site could cause irreparable damage. 

At least 30 people were injured in weather-related incidents. Two were seriously hurt when trees fell on their cars. Thousands of homes were without power due to downed electrical lines and damaged generators.

Ben Gurion Airport closed to some flights on Sunday evening due to poor visibility conditions. Several planes were diverted to Cyprus.

A Moldovan cargo ship sank off the coast of Ashdod due to the raging sea conditions; its crew of 11 was rescued.

While flooding was feared in the Jordan Valley, the Judean Desert and the center of the country, nearly 4 feet of snow fell in the area of Mount Hermon. Light snow also was reported in Jerusalem.

The storm was predicted to abate by late Monday.

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