Carmel storm kills one, injures others as heavy rains and wind hit country

Heavy rain, strong winds and unusually cold weather take a grim toll. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Carmel storm that hit Israel Monday has killed one, critically injured another and lightly hurt others as it blew through the country on the first of its predicted three-day visit.

The woman who was killed was driving in the north and lost control of her car in the deluge of rain. She crashed into a traffic pole and was thrown out of the vehicle, where medics could do nothing for her and had to declare her death.

The person most severely hurt was hit by a tree in Netanya that was blown down by the strong winds and suffered a serious head wound. Emergency medical technicians had to provide the 49-year-old man with CPR on the street before transferring him to the hospital, where he is currently in an intensive care unit, fighting for his life.

In Jerusalem, a light pole fell and hit a truck and its two passengers were also taken to hospital, albeit in good condition, while an elderly man who was apparently bowled over by the wind was treated for light injuries in another of the capital’s medical centers.

The unusually cold conditions of the storm also had their effect, as a woman in the Arab village of Sulam in the Jezreel Valley was found suffering from hypothermia and taken to the hospital in moderate condition.

Another woman was rescued without injury in Tira after her car toppled into a huge hole that suddenly opened in the street as she was driving. The heavy rain caused the same thing to happen to a taxi driver in Tel Aviv, whose car only fell halfway into the sinkhole and he managed to escape unhurt.

In Pardes Chana-Karkur, students walked on a bridge of tables to get out of a low school building that was flooded by the rain. In general, streets in several cities were flooded by the rains, including Tel Aviv. Trees hit several, luckily empty cars and crashed onto streets in cities such as Carmiel and Acre, blocking them completely.

Walla reported Monday that parents of Golani Brigade soldiers stationed at the Tze’elim army base complained to the IDF that their sons were forced to sleep the previous night in tents without heat, some of which simply blew away in the wind. Implicitly acknowledging the correctness of the criticism, the army put out a statement saying that following an inspection by brigade commanders “alternatives were explored to move the fighters to stay in more durable tents that are equipped with heating systems and an indoor hall in the base.”

On the bright side, some 25 cm. of snow has fallen on the lower slopes of the Hermon, and the water level in the Sea of Galilee has risen 2 cm in the last 24 hours. More snow at Israel’s only ski resort is still expected Tuesday, as is more strong wind and rain, especially in the north and along the coast, with the temperature continuing to be lower than average for this time of year.

Weather forecasters expect the harsh conditions to taper off gradually over Wednesday and Thursday, with winds dying down, local rains and continued cold.