According to the Hebrew calendar, the Hebrew month of Tevet ‒ generally one of Israel's cold, wet months ‒ had already started at the beginning of December, but the weather was still strangely warm. At Ramat Hanadiv, the landscape of the Nature Park was dry and sere, the soil parched and cracked. In the natural groves, the leaves of many trees were drying up. Though it was the end of autumn, almost winter, there had been virtually no rain, so little that until two weeks ago, weather forecasters, nature lovers and many others were beginning to worry: Would the month of December also be so dry?
And then, on Thursday, 5 December, everything turned upside down. Dark clouds and increasing winds sent a message that something serious was about to happen, and it did. For eleven days straight (almost a record for for continuous days of rain), torrential rains came down on Zichron Ya'acov, letting up at times, then resuming in full force. Other parts of Israel was experienced rain and snowstorms such as have not been seen here in decades.
At Ramat Hanadiv, this rare weather event delivered 157 mm of water, surpassing the average amount of rainfall for the entire month of December (some 120 mm). On Wednesday, 11 December, 46 mm of rain were recorded – the highest daily quantity of rainfall on record for the season. Streams began to gush down the wadis that descend in four directions from Ramat Hanadiv towards the Carmel coastal plateau, and from there to the Mediterranean. In our area ‒ which has known extreme weather conditions in the past, including serious flooding ‒ this month's precipitation was considered to be relatively moderate ‒ mostly a blessing that gave us beautifully wintry, watery Israeli landscapes.
But in Israel's hilly regions, the unusual weather conditions brought a heavy snowstorm that covered the ground with a thick white blanket. Since it is hard to predict exceptional weather events like these, not all the weather forecasting models indicated that such storms were brewing. Here at Ramat Hanadiv, especially low temperatures for this time of year were recorded despite our proximity to the sea: before dawn on Saturday, 14 December, the thermometer dipped to below 4° C (39° F).
However, it's worth remembering the past: In December 2001, Ramat Hanadiv received Israel's highest amount of rainfall in a single day (since precipitation has been measured here): 200 mm came down within a few hours, more even than in the extremely rainy winters of 1968-69 or 1991-92. The 2001 rainstorm extended from Zichron Ya'acov to the Hills of Menashe, where the rain diminished.
This December, there were sighs of relief in the Memorial Gardens when the rain, eagerly awaited since early November, finally arrived. It saturated the parched soil, and the irrigation system was turned off. We're all hoping that the rains will continue till the end of the winter so that no additional irrigation will be needed in the gardens.
In the Nature Park, the prevailing yellows and browns in the landscape have now turned to green as the tiny sprouts of new plants have begun to peek out of the wet soil. Some of the ancient quarries have filled up with water, creating temporary pools for special flora and fauna. Looking forward to a good winter with lots of precipitation, we invite the public, and particularly the residents of the area, to come see how the rain is awakening nature for the start of a new life cycle.
At this time of year, we particularly recommend that you coordinate your visit in advance with the InfoShop in order to get the latest updates on the conditions on the hiking trails. For information, ring 04-629-8111
The digital weather station that operates at Ramat Hanadiv records various climatic data including air and soil temperatures, humidity, wind velocity and direction, solar radiation, precipitation, and more. You can find it via our website: http://www.meteo-tech.co.il/hanadiv/hanadiv_weekly.asp