Israel swept by rainiest May day on record

Jerusalem, May 7

A rare storm dumped rain across Israel over Wednesday night and Thursday morning, causing flash floods and wreaking havoc in the south of the country.

The rains, which caused the Sea of Galilee to rise some 2.5 centimeters (1 inch), were the heaviest ever recorded for the month of May. The precipitation brought dry riverbeds to life, flooding low-lying areas, especially in the Judean Desert and Negev in the south of the country.

On Thursday morning schools near the Dead Sea were closed and several main roads in the area were blocked by authorities. The Eilat airport was temporarily closed due to flooding, and the Health Ministry issued a warning against swimming in the Mediterranean, citing pollutants in runoff making its way to the sea.