wow what a storm
I was joking yesterday that when bombs fall on us, the country swims along just fine but when rain falls, the country simply implodes. This is, however, the biggest storm in two decades.
Yesterday was a total nightmare. I heard yesterday morning that the Ayalon highway going south from Tel Aviv had been closed because the river was flooding up on it. I called to check on the bus line I would usually take to work and discovered it was essentially cancelled, with buses held up in traffic that wasn’t moving and they were holding new ones because of that. That meant the train. Except when I called to make sure that was still running I was told yes but they thought it might be shut down at any moment. And, in fact, about half an hour after I called, the line to Herzilya was indeed closed. I got the message that classes had been declared optional for students. Sadly, it was not optional for their teachers. Taxi.
Well, ok. The radio told me the Ayalon north was still open and that traffic was flowing smoothly in that direction. By the time I got to where I could catch a taxi, about a 15 minute walk from my house, I was wet through. I had waded across streets flowing with water above my ankles, the umbrella not only kept turning itself inside out in the gusts but the rain was blowing in at angles beneath it when I could keep the umbrella right-side up. I looked and felt like a half-drowned mouse. I finally caught a cab. The radio was still declaring the Ayalon north open. Off we went on the winding route that was mostly unmoving with traffic to reach the first on-ramp that was open.
We finally reached it and had just gotten to the top and entrance to the highway itself when traffic went full-stop. 6 or so cars ahead of us, policemen were holding off any more cars entering. We sat and sat and sat. We heard sirens behind us. Finally, all the cars stuffed on that on-ramp were told we needed to back back down the on-ramp. The radio was still saying the Ayalon north was open (and continued to say that long after it was closed). This took more than an hour because all the cars on the on-ramp had to back into all the traffic that was listening to the radio and thinking they could get onto the on-ramp and all the drivers who did not want to give way in their inching forward past the on-ramp when they were told they couldn’t. It took me three hours to get to work — usually a 15-20 minute journey in a cab. Thankfully, I’d called ahead to let them know that I was stuck in traffic but would be there and so my kids were all waiting patiently when I arrived 20 minutes late. Thankfully, I’d had the good sense to head out for the taxi at the same time I would have headed out to do the bus routine or I’d not have been there in time for my second class. Eight hours in a sodden state, with my ankle-length skirt so wet it was pulled down to floor-dragging, was seriously not fun.
Even less fun was the three-hour trek back home, walking again through gusts of rain and high wind drafts for half an hour to get to the bus stop, waiting the half-hour for the bus to arrive, as buses were again running normally by that time, and then the final walk home that took me 40 minutes rather than the usual half an hour as I waded again through puddles and crossings turned into small rivers, struggled with my dragging skirt, stopping to try to turn the umbrella right-side up over and over. That path home was like walking along the trail of dead umbrellas. Seriously, every few feet I’d pass an umbrella that had bitten the dust and simply been discarded.
Once home, I could not get warm. I put on a pair of pj pants with sweatpants over them and would have put on another layer of sweats if I could have gotten them to stretch over the layers below. Then I put on a gufiya, two long-sleeved shirts, a pull-over sweatshirt, and a fleece zi-up sweatshirt over that. A pair of socks and my warm bootie slippers completed my attempt to get warm. I fed the cats, heated up some soup, got on the couch with a pile of blankets and had just started to eat when the electricity went out. So much for the toast and tea I’d planned to include in my meal.
Jerusalem and the north are being hit with snow today. It is still freezing in my apartment and it looks like my apartment will just get colder between now and the weekend if the forecast is correct. At least the electricity came back on this morning around 10 so I could have coffee. Brrrrr. Brrrr, I say.