HAIFA - Following a parched summer and fall, Israel was ravaged by wildfires a week ago, some of them deliberately set by terrorists.
Now the Jewish state has a new weather-related challenge, a major winter storm that is bringing snow at high elevations, torrential rains at lower, coastal flooding and high winds.
The storms, the first of the season have brought sharp drops in temperature and winds of up to 56 mph, according to weather forecasts.
Some 30 to 40 inches of rain fell Wednesday evening through Thursday, even more in northern regions, the result of low pressure over the Mediterranean Sea. Northern and coastal areas were expected to be hardest hit.
In Haifa, residents were trying to seal and waterproof homes damaged in last week’s rash of brushfires.
On the coast, authorities were concerned that heavy rain could bring city flooding. Meanwhile, flooding and sandstorms were predicted for the southern desert areas and the Dead Sea, according to the Israel Meteorological service.
On the Golan Heights, snow plows were put on alert and loaded with some 75 tons of salt to spread on roads.