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article imageStorms and high winds hit Israel Special

By Alessandro Di Maio     Dec 23, 2010 in Environment
Tel Aviv - An intense winter storm has hit Israel and the Palestinian Territories with force rarely seen in the last 20 years. Snow and winds from 50 to 110 km/h caused enormous damage all over the country.
For once, most of the Israelis and Palestinians shared the same thought: the mid-December storm was an abnormal event, a rare natural event that proves that the area is being deeply influenced by global warming and climate change. For less than a week, rain, snow and strong winds have made the Middle Eastern country look like Central Europe.
In less than 24 hours - from Saturday Dec 11th to Sunday Dec 12th - the northern highlands were completely covered with snow. Winds of 50 to 110 km/h swept the coast and the Negev Desert creating sand storms and great inconvenience as electric power cuts, blocked roads and traffic congestion swept across the country.
The stormy weather arrived on Friday after a period of exceptionally dry conditions. November was the driest month in the last 42 years - which has facilitated the development of the fire on Mount Caramel, the largest wildfire in Israeli history.
Before the storm MeteoTech - the national forecast agency - declared that "very large quantities of rain are expected in the north and the centre of the country. There is serious concern about flooding in the cities along the coast".
The facts have fulfilled the predictions. The storm reached its peak Saturday night. Snow even fell briefly in Jerusalem, but did not stick to the ground. The ports in Tel Aviv and Caesarea sustained considerable damage, and at least 30 people have been injured by falling objects.
In Tel Aviv the sea promenade has been completely invaded by the sea water. In particular, the port of Tel Aviv, which serves as a popular recreation area, was badly damaged by the storm. Massive waves have flooded and destroyed the interiors of several restaurants and cafes.
The restaurant ‘Comme Il Faut’, as many others in the same area, was completely destroyed and will face expensive repairs.
Ella Yoga, a yoga center in the port of Tel Aviv, suffered the same fate. Sharon, a 25-years-old Israeli student and member of the center, says: “It was the only place I could go to in order to forget the daily life stress. Now, after the storm, I came for my weekly session and I discovered that the place is completely destroyed. This beautiful place is now a disaster: all the windows glasses are broken, the electricity devices are torn up and the studio rooms are flooded by water”.
More about Israel, Storm, Tel aviv port
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