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Massive storm heads towards Israel, authorities warn of winds and flash floods

Israelis brace for the first storm of the winter season, with heavy rainfall, strong winds, hail and possible flooding expected across the country.

People try to wade through a flooded street after heavy rains in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Nov. 9, 2015. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90.
People try to wade through a flooded street after heavy rains in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Nov. 9, 2015. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90.

Israeli meteorological authorities warned residents to brace for the first storm of the winter rainy season, with heavy rainfall, strong winds, hail and possible flooding expected across the country come Thursday night.

Precipitation is expected to reach anywhere from 2.3 to 7.8 inches, with winds reaching as strong as 62 miles per hour.

Temperatures in Jerusalem could plummet from Thursday’s balmy 81 degrees Fahrenheit to below 60.

Israel’s national electric company advised residents to remove anything from balconies, rooftops or porches that could be blown away or damaged by the powerful storm.

Authorities issued a flash flood warning in Israel’s south, and urged all travelers, particularly in desert regions, to exercise extreme caution.

In April, 10 teenagers—nine girls and a boy—from a pre-military academy in Tel Aviv were killed when they were carried away by a massive flash flood in the Tzafit stream in the southwestern Dead Sea region. The catastrophe led to school officials being arrested and a renewed awareness of the serious risk of flash floods in the Negev and Judean deserts.

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