I have never seen a severe storm like the one that hit the Jerusalem area this evening. There were winds of 50 km/h, hail greater than 1 cm in size, constant lightning/thunder, and about 20 mm of rain in only 10 minutes (or so).
If you take a look below, you can see a screen shot of lightning and lightning derived radar from the Israel Total Lightning Network, which is part of the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network. You'll note below that there is a circular shape to the convective clouds. You might remember that in our last blog we wrote that a Sharav storm would move eastward and then up the coast, becoming absorbed in a winter-type trough dropping down from the north. The results was a storm that brought floods yesterday (on Wednesday) and today's terrible tragedy (in the south), as the storm stalled over our area, spinning counter clockwise.
Because the storm is located over the land, it is picking up huge amounts of dust, which is being absorbed into its convective clouds. Dust has been shown to invigorate convective clouds, and one might be bold enough to say that today proves the theory -- and then some.
The rain should taper off tonight, and at least the first part of Friday may be partly sunny. However, more moisture is suppose to be advected in from the north Friday night, which should lead to more storms as the day ends and Friday night progresses.
There should be a break next week ahead of the next weather system -- another Sharav. It too should bring a warm up before it arrives. This one is suppose to move inland, and merge with a "Red-Sea-Trough," which would bring more convective showers to the southern and central areas during the mid-week period.
The Education Ministry was quick to deny that they gave permission to the Mechina (Pre-Military Religious Academy) that sent its students on a dead sea (bonding) experience. They are now, very unfortunately, bonded in death. It should be pointed out that the Israeli Water Authority and the Israeli Meteorological Service had both issued advisories for flooding in many locations today. Yet, I would argue that there is a disconnect between the issuing of advisories and the public (which are done at fixed time intervals). I believe this is because real-time (as in just prior to the event) warnings are not generally issued, and if they are they are not disseminated over cell-phones, for example. This is for two reasons: these ministries don't have access to a real-time warning alerting system/App, and they don't have the broad view, such as shown below. Our system, developed by Earth Networks, does both these tasks.
Note, during the severe storm that hit our area after 6 P.M (1800 IDT), one can clearly see the imprint of the storm on the second map below, which shows high radar reflectivity and lightning (cloud-to-ground and intra-cloud) within. This system is available to government ministries -- they need only ask. It would supplement very well the current efforts to improve forecasts and provide better warnings to the public.