Rain isn’t normally big news around the world. But in Israel, it doesn’t rain from April until October. When the first rains come, it is like a national holiday. Kids run out of the classroom and pray in the water falling from the sky. My first rain in Israel in 2003, came unexpectedly. I had not realized it had not rained in several months until the drops started falling. I got emotional.
However, when the first rains hit Israel every fall, there is quite a hubbub around the country, especially when that first fall rain includes thunder and hail in October.
That is exactly what happened when a freak storm that went entirely unpredicted hit Jerusalem — and only the Jerusalem area — on Tuesday despite temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees the same day.
This first rains came a bit later than usual but they certainly made up for lost time, pouring down rain and hail for more than an hour. Thunder was loud and dramatic, preceding the rain and was widely mistaken for trucks or planes.
“One cloud (the sky is clear nationwide) throws off all the models,” the amateur meteorologist behind the popular Yerushamayim weather site posted on Twitter. “Fine, you caught me with my pants down. You don’t need to bring down the site.”
Users crashed the site in a flurry of activity. Yerushamayim is a combination of two Hebrew words: Yerushaliym (Jerusalem) and mayim (water).
Last year’s rainy season resulted in record levels for Israel’s main water supply, Lake Kinneret, otherwise known as the Sea of Galilee.