Friday, March 2, 2012

Dust storms, flash floods, rain, and snow

Hello--I'm back!
We have been four days at over 400 meters below sea level.
My Naomi flew in from Australia and I got to take care of her little one while Naomi lectured and attended an engineering conference, all at a big hotel at Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea shore.

Strong winds blew up dust storms on three of our four days.
Yesterday we started the drive home, passing this little airstrip (enlarge to see the planes).
Across the sea (which you could hardly see), the sky was black and the Kingdom of Jordan was being treated to a rare snowfall.

Soon we passed Masada on the other side of the highway.

The road is between the Dead Sea on the east and tall cliffs on the west.
Eighteen normally dry riverbeds emerge from between these mountains.
When hard rain falls in Jerusalem or the Hebron Hills, the water collects in one or two or three of these wadis (you never know which it will be) and can suddenly come gushing out from the canyons under the little bridges built over the Dead Sea road.
But more often the flash floods rush over, not just under, the bridges.

Yesterday bulldozers were parked at the places most likely to flood.

Wow! We arrived just as the rolling brown water (enlarge the picture!) was starting to inundate the road and make its way to the Dead Sea!
The cars in front of us made it across just in time.

Naomi looked at the pole with potential depth markings of 0.5 meter, 1.0, and 1.5 meters, looked at our little toddler in the baby seat, and quickly (and wisely) turned the car in the opposite direction.

We drove south again, back in the direction of the hotels we had just left.
Luckily we did not encounter another flash flood; otherwise we would have been trapped in between two of them.

The only alternative was to climb up the Arad-Beersheba road.
The evaporating ponds where they mine potash and minerals from the Dead Sea water became visible way below, under a dramatic sky.

The road curved around and around as we ascended from minus 400 meters below sea level to about 500 meters above sea level.

What an adventure! It was our first time to see this powerful natural phenomenon with our own eyes.

Today, Friday, it snowed in Jerusalem. And even in my village for a few minutes.
March is acting like real winter.
A post for SkyWatch Friday, of course!


Spiderdama said...

Glad you are come back safe. I just read about the snow weather in Jerusalem and that you have winter.. well, we have Spring:-)
I longing back when I see your pictures.

Hope you have a wonderful time with your family!

Olga said...

Sounds like a very frightening adventure, glad you made it safe and unharmed!

Looking forward to your pictures of snow :)

Shabbat shalom!

Theanne said...

nature revealed even in the beautiful, so deadly! I remember the flash floods in Arizona...every year someone died trying to beat the rising water! your daughter indeed very wise...too great a risk! you're all safe and the photos are quite dramatic for Skywatch Friday!

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

I'm glad you got home safely.

Regards and best wishes

Robin said...

Yikes! I'm glad you managed to get out safely, I heard they closed the road completely today!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I can almost feel the grit in my mouth from the dust storms!

Cemetery Sky

Sara said...

Shalom Dina! I'm so glad you did not get swept away...I saw the news on TV and thought of you, but imagined you would be in Jerusalem in, perhaps, snow!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Really dramatic skies, nicely photographed!

VP said...

It is always strange to associate Jerusalem with snow... Glad you are safe back home.

Lea said...

Enjoyed the photos of your journey - quite an adventure you had there!
Have a blessed week-end!
Lea's Menagerie

Kay said...

Oh wow! This is just so neat. I'll be sure to show this to Jon and Sarah. They just told me last night that one of their goals is to visit Jerusalem. He said they'd love to come see you.

JM said...

Loved this tour, Dina! Great post.

Reader Wil said...

What an ordeal! Fortunately you were safe!

Toto said...


Kay said...

Wow! You certainly had an adventure! So you had snow and we had hailstones in Hawaii. What strange thing is going on?