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.

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15 responses to “wow what a storm”

  1. tddpirate says :

    My long wait for your account about your storm adventures is finally over!

    Yesterday it took me 3 hours to drive from NE Petah Tikva to the industrial area of Herzliya via Road 5. Usual driving time at that hour is 40 minutes.
    Fortunately the conference which drew me there started one hour late, as almost everyone had weather related transportation problems. Unfortunately, I arrived almost two hours after the postponed conference starting time and lost most of the lectures that interested me.

    I am still amazed how well I was able to survive three hours in car (60% of the time to reach Eilat by car). And how well I took in stride the continuous small disappointments, as after each interchange I hoped that the traffic gridlock would at last be cleared.

    The way back home took 40 minutes and was obstacle free. Oh, the small blessings of life.

  2. Lynne says :

    I am always astonished that businesses and schools do not postpone events, classes, work when there is severe weather. Schools especially! What can be gained by dragging people out in such bad weather and exposing them to numerous risks? When i was teaching, in spite of weather forecasts of 100% certainty of sleet and snow, the schools stayed open…and teachers and students watched as the weather worsened and stayed glued to the weather forecasts, only to have the stupid administration send everyone home once the weather had become truly dangerous. Absurd.

    • Lynne says :

      There have been times when school administrators and business owners here have been proactive, not dragging people out into very severe weather. Thank goodness that there are reasonable people, too.

  3. Nicole says :

    Did you have to pay for the 3 hour taxi ride by the meter?

    • israeliminx says :

      Yes I did. This was the one time in my life I wanted to go by the ‘set’ fare (generally a massive rip off) rather than the meter and it was the one time I’ve ever had cabbies insist on the meter and not the set fare –I ran out of options because I had to get to work. Honestly, however, I can’t begrudge the cabbies in this situation. They have to make a living too. If my cabbie had decided to just take the extremely large number of people who just wanted cabs ‘locally’ he would have made way more than my fare especially since the situation was combined with the lack of folks wanting any sort of return and the hours in traffic to get back to where he could have picked up fares. I just counted this one as a mitzvah, along with the 50 sheks I seriously could not afford that I gave to the russian single mother who’d worked a night shift and now was in tears because she couldn’t get home to her kids because she only had bus fare and the buses weren’t running.

  4. israeliminx says :

    Pirate –at least we are far better off with all inconvenience, expense (270 shek cab ride, but can’t be begrudged!), and discomfort than the two women and their driver who died in the flash flood across the road they were driving in Samaria 😦

    But for g-ds sakes, I grew up in a region that had this sort of rain onslaught and more on a regular basis (hello, at least every couple of weeks most months) and the infrastructure was such that no one even blinked and nothing went awry. They were incredibly stupid, incompetent, and immoral because everyone and their dog knew a Katrina or worse was likely to hit and they weren’t even remotely prepared for it. Our infrastructure here should not be so weak as to not be able to handle a relatively routine amount of rain that slams other countries — just imagine what would happen here if we got a storm 1/16th the size of a Katrina just in terms of rain.

    Lynne — yep stupidity, short-sightedness, and incompetence seems to rule everywhere 😦

  5. Tiger Mike says :

    It’s still raining like heck down here in the Negev. All the dust and sand has turned into a red-tan goo. It was hailing around 3 o’clock today, too.

  6. Coyote says :

    I work at a U.S. university as support staff. Universities in my area in Michigan only close if the weather is super extreme … several inches of snow … or a power failure at the university. So I guess the idea that staff and faculty still had to show up for work in the face of the rain really doesn’t surprise me. I just don’t understand why universities are exempt from the same safety ideas as other educational institutions!

    • Lynne says :

      Coyote, I agree. When it’s flooding, traffic is snarled and gridlocked, roads unsafe with ice, snow or rain, it’s time to have students and staff stay home.

  7. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    Water is life! In fact, we are composed mostly of water! Therefore, whenever I see rains, instead of complaining about it, I say to myself something like that “rain brings life”. Therefore, if rains fall on Israel, it is good news to me.

    I do know that storms can cause problems when a country is not prepared for them but again anything that brings more water to the Land of Israel should be seen as a blessing, a gift from the sky I could say.

    When you shift your perception from seeing rain as a curse to seeing it as a vital and indispensable precursor to life, it makes a big difference the next time you see rain falling, even during a storm.

    • Lynne says :

      Wipe Out, that’s true. What I think is that people should be able to enjoy the rain from home if there is a severe storm! We have been in a long period of drought here in Texas and I absolutely crave rain, but appreciate it best when I don’t have to get out in it. Here, we have a problem with flash flooding which can be deadly with people being swept away by a small amount of water at “low water crossings”, and we have had dangerous flooding, too, from strong storms. Sometimes, too much of a good thing.

  8. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    Wherever there are Muslims, there are problems and they also very often try, whenever it is possible, they try to basically create another Muslim state!!
    Read “Mali asks France for help as Islamist militants advance” at http://www.france24.com/en/20130111-mali-asks-france-military-help-islamists-seize-konna-militants

    Muslims are the curse of any country who harbors them and Israel is certainly no exception!!

    What future could any country plan to have with its Muslim inhabitants when Muslims have for only goal to create a Muslim state or, if not possible, live in a state as if the state was a Muslim state! Basically, trying to impose their evil Muslim faith to the natives of the country in which they live!

    • Lynne says :

      It is hard for any group to assimilate, and even harder for them to do that when they congregate in large numbers in an area. In that case, they tend to associate exclusively with one another, avoiding the host country’s people and customs and remaining segregated by their own choice. These groups often forget why they came to the host country and began to resent the people there, wanting to change them rather than to adapt themselves or to respect the customs, values and people of their new country. Not just Muslims, but many groups. However, in the case of those who follow Islam, there are the aspects of their religion which instructs them to reject other groups, making this a very problematic situation. It is certainly not that I hate Muslims, but I do recognize the difficulties of assimilation when they enter non-Muslim countries. A friend from France told me that there are huge areas in France where no one but Muslims can safely go, as the Muslims in those areas, in general, not only reject the host country, but hate the people and the customs.
      It is the leaders of these countries (and certainly in the US) and the immigration services who are creating these terrible situations. In the US, there is the idiotic bureaucratic immigration services who renewed the visas of the 9/11 terrorists after they were dead…apparently rubber-stamping their applications without any recognition of those names. Appalling incompetence but I am sure that they all have their jobs still, as there is no accountability in US bureaucracies.

  9. Lynne says :

    Yaeli, check email.

  10. Mac says :

    On a lighter note, I saw that some parts of Israel got 8 inches of snow…. Lol, I want to see Yaeli do a snow angel, lol.

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