Increase comes after heavy snowfall in northern Israel and Jerusalem, and as rains inundate Tel Aviv.
By Eli Ashkenazi

A weekend of heavy rains and snowstorms throughout the country contributed to a 20 centimeter rise in the level of Lake Kinneret, one of Israel’s primary sources of drinking water.

The Kinneret’s water level has risen 30 centimeters since the beginning of the current round of storms last week. Since the beginning of the current storm system, Jerusalem has seen 168 millimeters of rain, Ariel 93, and Tel Aviv 58 millimeters.

Kids throwing snowballs at Ein Zivan in the northern Golan Heights this weekend.
Photo by: Gil Eliyahu

The weekend saw heavy snows in northern Israel, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. In Jerusalem, snow accumulated on the ground for the first time in four years.

In Tel Aviv, the sun briefly broke through the clouds on Sunday morning after a rainy weekend, before disappearing again behind heavy storm clouds.

In Modi’in Ilit, seven-year-old Yael Sheffer died after being swept away by the Modi’in stream on Friday. Police are investigating whether possible negligence on the part of the girl’s father or city officials was involved in the incident.

Lake Kinneret rises 20 cm. over weekend
03/04/2012 10:30
Melting snows in Golan expected to contribute to further rise of lake; weather forecasted to warm up rest of week.

The level of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) rose 20 centimeters over the weekend and now stands 3.37 meters below the basin’s upper red line. Even with rain expected to tail off on Sunday afternoon, the lake will likely see a further rise as snows which have fallen in the Golan Heights begin to melt.

The country’s three main water sources – the Kinneret, the mountain aquifers and coastal aquifers – are collectively missing about 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters of water, due to the last seven drought years.

Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night that “it’s a wonderful year and we’re very happy about it but in order to fill Lake Kinneret we need two more winters like that in a row,” Schor said. “We hope that we are now in a row of at least seven good years.” .

The rainy weather which has contributed to Lake Kinneret’s rise was expected to continue from the North to the Negev on Sunday, weakening in the afternoon. Gusty winds were slated to continue as temperatures will rise toward the evening hours, the Israel Meteorological Service forecasted.

Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea remained dangerous due to high waves and their was a risk of flash floods in eastern and southern streams.

Skies were expected to remain partly cloudy on Monday, although temperatures would continue to rise. Temperatures were expected to become increasingly warmer throughout the week.

Sharon Udasin contributed to this report.