Thursday, January 14, 2010

Desert Rain

Rainfall this year in Israel has been a paltry thing. In fact, rain has been so scarce that the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Omar, has declared tomorrow, Thursday the 28th of Tevet 5770, a public fast day. The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is running very low. When we were there in 2007 the water level was already alarmingly low, with the water far from what used to be the shores of the sea.

We did experience a few days of rain in Mitzpe Ramon this year, with enough to create run off into some of the wadis in the area. On our way to Be'er Sheva during this period we were aboard a Metropolitan highway bus that gave us this view of a swollen wadi just outside of Mitzpe Ramon.

Rain swollen wadi outside of Mitzpe Ramon

The bus had no problem fording it, but some smaller cars had to turn back.

Our bus fords a rain-swollen wadi outside of Mitzpe Ramon

As our bus reached the lowest part of the road the water suddenly became quite high, moving with great speed. I could finally understand the warning signs that appear over these low points in the road, alerting unknowing travelers to the dangers of sudden rain fall in dry river beds.

Traversing the road crossing this wadi, the water suddenly turned into a gushing torrent over 4 feet deep.

When the rain stops and the running water ceases, what remains are extended pools of water that spread out like wide bogs or marshes. It will be interesting to see what grows here in the spring.

A desert bog after winter rain

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