Hiking trails shut down, flood warnings issued as Sea of Galilee rises

Popular hiking trails in the Negev and near the Dead Sea are closed off for fear of flooding.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The Sea of Galilee’s water level rose 15 cm during the last 24 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 its dry, compacted 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 Mt. Hermon, the highest point in Israel, attracts skiers, but the ski center has been closed to visitors since October 7.

Read  ‘Like a greeting from Christian pilgrims’: Archaeologists find 1,500-year-old church wall in Negev

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

The rain and unseasonably cold weather is expected to ease up on Monday.