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Israel’s first winter storm causes damage

JTA

December 13, 2010 | 8:15 am

Snow falls in Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights. Photo by: Yaron Kaminsky (HAARETZ.com)

Snow falls in Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights. Photo by: Yaron Kaminsky (HAARETZ.com)

Israel’s first real winter storm caused major damage throughout the country, especially to the Tel Aviv beachfront and an ancient pier in Caesaria.

The storm which began Sunday and continued on Monday, included heavy rains and damaging winds of up to 75 miles per hour, which caused huge waves to wash up on Tel Aviv beaches, breaking restaurant windows, throwing café furniture, and scattering a thick layer of sand along the Promenade in Tel Aviv.

The storm caused a modern-day sea wall protecting the popular Caesarea archeological site to fall down early Sunday, exposing the walls of the ancient port and raising fears that the waves crashing on the site could cause irreparable damage.

Ben Gurion Airport closed to some flights on Sunday evening due to bad visibility conditions. Several planes were diverted to Cyprus.

A Moldovan cargo ship sank off the coast of Ashdod due to the raging sea conditions; its crew of 11 was rescued.

Thousands of homes were without power due to downed electrical lines and damaged generators.

Two people were seriously hurt when trees fell on their cars, and another at least 30 people were injured in weather-related incidents.

While flooding was feared in the Jordan Valley, the Judean Desert and the center of the country, nearly four feet of snow fell in the area of Mount Hermon. Light snow was also reported in Jerusalem.

The storm was predicted to abate by late Monday.

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