November, which has not yet ended, has already been designated as the wettest November since 1994 on the coastal plain: This morning (Thursday) opened with flooding in the Sharon and Central areas and in the Ashdod-Ashkelon area, and later the large amounts of rain also reached the Western Galilee and Nahariya. Major damage was caused by the floods in the cities, which dropped to more than 100 mm in just over a day.
According to the Meteorological Service, from the North Tel Aviv area to the Hod Hasharon area fell from yesterday afternoon to today in the afternoon between 100 and 120 mm. Most of the rain fell in just three to four hours today. In the Ashdod-Ashkelon area, similar amounts fell, Most in the early morning hours, and in Nahariya and the area 110 mm of rain fell in the last day.
The question about the cause of the floods, and the criticism of the quality of the infrastructure in the various cities, has been heard time and time again in recent days by the residents of the flooded streets and houses. Dr. Moshe Becker, a transportation expert and engineer, explained in a conversation with Ynet that the standards set for drainage planning in cities have not been updated for years, and have not been adapted to climate change.
“Everything we knew in the past has changed,” he said. “It was once said that there would be a rainstorm once every 20 years and we would deal with it, but today it comes almost every year.” Becker suggests examining the economic cost of replacing infrastructure, and on the other hand also cleaning it thoroughly before the start of each winter: “Firefighters can spray water in drainage systems and see where there are problems.”
Amiram Strolov, an expert in strategic management of transportation systems, also joined Becker’s position. “Israel does not know how to do projects of the here and now,” he stated. “We fail time and time again and work from hand to mouth. We build more and more concrete and close all the seepage openings, we build, and so the water does not seep in. There was enough time to plan and build better drainage systems. Winter does not come suddenly.”
Itzik Gutterman, 69, from Hod Hasharon, was one of those who experienced the worst flooding. He got stuck with his car on Jabotinsky Street in the city, which was completely flooded. “I work as a contractor there and I went to buy materials. There was a small puddle, but I said it was a main street and I never got stuck there – so we will move. I started driving, and after 20 meters the vehicle started to turn around alone,” he says.
He describes the first moments cheerfully, “the water started to come in and I said ‘how will I clean the carpets'”, but later on he started to get stressed. “The water suddenly got into the vehicle and it went out. I couldn’t open the windows and I tried to push the door that weighed tons. I lay on my side and pushed the door with my feet. I managed to get out and then my son came and rescued me.”
Gutterman places the responsibility on the Hod Hasharon municipality, and estimates that if something similar happened to a smaller vehicle owner of his own, it would have ended in tragedy. “The drains were clogged, I’m sure,” he states. “Within 45 minutes, I was called by the police and told to come and get the car, the water went down. Someone in the municipality did not do his homework.”
In Nahariya, which experienced huge floods last year that led to the drowning of the city’s resident, Moti Ben Shabbat, who rescued car occupants from a flood, residents claimed that the expected flooding recorded there tonight was already a few days ago. They state that the floods could have been avoided if the municipality had been prepared accordingly. In the last day, no less than 110 mm of rain fell in the city.
The main floods were recorded south of the Ga’aton River, on several streets, as the drainage system was filled and could not withstand the load. One of the streets is Herzl, out the city from north to south. The water level there exceeded the height of the stairs of the houses – and the water slid into the yards of houses below the level of the road.
Arik Haddad, a resident of the city, said that in a house that was flooded near his house, there were two children who were alone in the house. “The water here reached a height of about 70 cm and the electricity did not stop jumping. There were two children downstairs, the mother was not at home, “he said.” I picked up the phone for 106, the fire brigade, the Nahariya police. “They came after I took the kids out, said, ‘Okay, there’s no danger to life,’ and left.”
He said, “Everything here is full of water. I begged for a sewer. Why do I have to recruit pumps? Bring in external workers to do it? This is not my water, this is water from the Nahariya municipality.” Haddad noted that he had previously warned of sealed drainage openings: “There are empty sewers after the Nahariya municipality paved here. I sent pictures after the previous flood and said it would be treated. They did nothing.”
The Nahariya municipality said that “a call was received from a resident of the city. The PA’s chief of staff arrived at the scene accompanied by a staff and found that all the residents were on a high and safe floor. We emphasize that all referrals to the call center are handled in accordance with the priority of the situation on the ground. Later, a team from the municipality came and drew water from the basement. “
Ynet forecaster Danny Roop It is reported that the rain that has fallen in the last few days is expected to weaken, and by the weekend the weather will be partly cloudy and cool. Occasionally there may be local rain, especially along the coast on Friday and in the mountains on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday no rain is expected and there will be an increase in temperatures.
According to the Meteorological Service, in the part between South Tel Aviv and Rehovot it has dropped between 40 and 60 mm since yesterday afternoon, in the Haifa and Carmel area it has dropped between 30 and 40 mm, in the northern mountains, in the valleys and in Samaria it has dropped between 40 and 60 50 mm and in the Judean mountains dropped between 20 and 30 mm. In the south of the country, except for one to two millimeters in the northern Negev, it has not rained since yesterday.
The amounts of rain since the beginning of the season exceed the average considerably in the north and center of the country. At many stations in the north of the country and on the coastal plain, they are higher than 200 mm and in some cases even more than 250 mm. In some places on the coastal plain it has already dropped more than 40% of the average for the entire winter season.