Driest Winter for Israel in 60 Years

On Thursday, the Israel Meteorological Service disclosed new rainfall figures, which show that there has been significantly less rainfall in Israel this year than in the same period last year.

This has resulted in the country experiencing its driest winter season in more than 60 years. The findings showed that the Sea of Galilee’s water level had only risen by 2 cm so far from the rainfall in the current winter season.

Drop in rainfall

This is a significant reduction from the same periods in recent years between the beginning of the winter season in December and January.

In this period, water levels have usually risen by dozens of centimeters, but this has not been the case this year.

Even though the largest freshwater lake in Israel is no longer used as the primary source of drinking water, it is still used for gauging seasonal rainfall.

There is usually an increase of about 1.6 meters in the water levels of the lake on average in the Israeli winter season, which starts from December and ends in March.

According to the water authorities in Israel, the first half of the current winter season has seen long breaks between rainfall, which means that run-offs from hills in the north and flows from streams are significantly slower.

This has limited the amount by which there could be an increase in the water levels.

The changes

The hydrological service of the government is known as the Government Water and Sewage Authority and its director, Eyal Wiesal, said that the rise of 2 cm was the most modest one recorded since 1964.

That was when they had first begun to measure national rainfall. Wiesel said that water levels in the Sea of Galilee in the 2022-2023 winter season had begun to rise just a week ago on January 12th.

He stated that it was the latest start in the winter season in terms of rainfall and rise in water levels since 1964.

According to the Water Authority, there had only been four winter seasons in the last 60 years in which water levels had started rising in January. These four years were 1971, 1974, 1991 and 2011.

More details

The director of the Israel Meteorological Service’s climate division, Dr. Amos Porat said that the amount of rainfall this winter season was about 40% to 50% of the rainfall in the same period in recent years.

This measurement was for the period between December and January 19th. The authorities said that they had seen higher rainfall levels in the previous four years than average.

According to Porat, the winter season is still ongoing and there could still be improvement in the current situation, but there is also a possibility that the rainy season could end negatively.

He said that it seemed that Israel was going to have little rain this year. He refrained from using the word ‘drought’ because of economic implications and since the government decides it.

Porat said that winter was not done yet, but the data was important because December, January and February are the main winter months.

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