Severe floods across Israel, record broken, and a tornado

A deep and cold upper-level low developed over Israel and brought extremely heavy rain and very strong thunderstorms today. This was accompanied by a surface Red Sea trough, the main severe weather producer in the Middle East.

For 12 hours, from midnight until noon today, 140 mm of rain fell where I live near Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem itself 124 mm of rain were recorded. Out of the above amounts 121 and 112 for both locations respectively fell in just 8 hours from 0100 until 0900, accompanied by countless lightning. Similar amounts of rain also fell in many other areas of central Israel.

This is an incredible amount for my region in many respects. The entire monthly average in Jerusalem for April is just 29 mm. This is the highest daily amount recorded in Jerusalem in any month since modern records began in 1950. 124 mm is 22% of the entire yearly average in Jerusalem. And in just 12 hours more rain fell in Jerusalem than in the whole months of February and March 2006, which are usually very wet (the current rain season 2005-2006 [October-May] has been declared a drought in most areas of Israel before today's rain. This rain helps statistics but not water reservoirs or crops).

The heavy rain flooded almost every stream in the Judean Desert, and many streams in the Negev Desert. Streams in the Judean Mountains were also flooded. 2 people were swept away and died in their cars as a result of flash floods.

Here are some pictures from today:

A normally dry stream near Jerusalem


The valley became a floodplain

Rescue underway in Megido junction, in the Jezreel Valley (copyright AP)

Floods in Kibbutz Givat Oz in the Jezreel Valley (copyright NRG)

And a video of the flood in Givat Oz
That is is an impressive amount of rainfall, I do feel sorry for the folks having to deal with it though. Thanks for sharing those pics.
Yes, we had 11-12 hours of thunderstorms in Baghdad yesterday as well. I could not believe how fast it was coming down. They didn't lose too much steam between there and here.
I saw the storms develop in Iraq and thought you'd welcome them :)

The human and property damage is indeed very unfortunate. :(

I added a video of the flood in Givat Oz. They had 63 mm in 2 hours, but the floods also originated from the city of Um-El-Fahem which had 120 mm.
Severe weather still pounds Israel. This time a huge supercell developed in north-western Israel this afternoon, with large hail (3-4 cm) and a tornado that caused damage. While large hail this size occurs every now and then, supercells are rare and tornadoes this size extremely rare. More severe weather is forecasted for tonight and tomorrow.

From the pictures and reports I estimate this as an F0, if someone thinks otherwise please tell. There were reports of downed trees, building damge (at least 2 buildings damaged badly), cars blown off roads (still checking on the validity of this report), and downed power poles. 70 people were injured lightly from this storm (also from the hail and not only the tornado).

Here is a view of the supercell from Netanya, some 130 km away. Note the height of the overshooting top! The cloud was also clearly seen from 180 km away at least.

And another view from aboud 60 km away.

The hail right before the tornado struck.


And the tornado.
© Abu-Haia Jamil
©Richard Milki
©Richard Milki

Here's a news report (in arabic) with some damage pictures and more pictures of the same tornado.
Here are more damage pictures.

Could it be F1? From the few pictures I don't see damage to concrete or stone walls but mainly to light materials, although in one picture there are clearly roof tiles blown off, and stone slabs knocked down(?).
Perhaps an F1? Still, very rare to have a tornado in Israel. Not unheard of... but rare. That hail looks pretty substantial for the area too. And there's a lot of it. I would say that hail might have done more damage than the tornado.. at least as far as injuries go.
More and more pictures and video of the storm are coming in.
Here is a video taken by a security camera in Haifa that captures very strong winds and damage. The media claims this video is of the tornado which apparently began near Haifa and made its way to the Galilee where the above pictures were taken. I however do not believe this is the case, since it seems impossible to me that the tornado struck Haifa first without anyone else (apart from this security camera) reported or documented a funnel, whereas in the Galilee where there was a distinct and quite thick funnel there were dozens of reports and photographs. My guess it that what the camera captured here is a microburst. However it might be the same tornado, before the formation of a clear funnel.

In any case it is a nice video from inside a microburst or maybe even a weak tornado.

By the way, it seems clear that the tornado was at the top end of the F1 category at it's peak in the Galilee.

security camera video (Israel TV report)
The first tornado video shown in the report is from the Galilee. 9 seconds into the video you see the security camera capture, until second 36.

Whatever the category, this is definately the most well-documented tornado in Israel and probably the Middle East.
Of course, this is all dwarfed compared to the monsters you guys get, but for us it's a big thing :)