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Sea of Galilee water level rises amid heavy rains in Israel

Authorities close off hiking trails in the Negev and near the Dead Sea for fear of flash floods.

Snow in Nebi Samuel Park. Credit: Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Snow in Nebi Samuel Park. Credit: Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

The Sea of Galilee’s water level rose some 15 centimeters during the last 36 hours due to rainy weather, which is expected to continue for several days.

According to the Water Authority, the lake’s water level now stands at 210.65 meters below sea level, or 1.85 meters below its full capacity.

The forecast also prompted authorities to close off hiking trails in the Negev and near the Dead Sea for fear of flooding. The popular Darga, Mashash, Teko and Og riverbeds will be closed until Saturday evening.

Flash floods in the Negev are especially dangerous because the dry, compacted desert soil is less absorbent, leading to unusually sudden and powerful flooding.

The risk is further compounded by forecasts of snow on Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights. Melting snow raises the water level of the Golan’s streams. Ordinarily, snow on Mount Hermon, the highest point in Israel, attracts skiers, but the ski center has been closed to visitors since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

Flooding is also expected in Israel’s coastal plain and Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

The rainy and cold weather is set to ease up on Monday.

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