Tag Archives: weather

Races called off at Caesarea Maritima hippodrome

Friend Leon Mauldin is traveling in Israel for a few days. He reports “a mixture of wind, rain, and sunshine” today. He shared a nice photo of the hippodrome at Caesarea Maritima flooded. Note the heavy clouds and the water crashing in from the sea.

Caesarea Maritima Hippodrome standing in water. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Caesarea Maritima Hippodrome standing in water. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Our thanks to Leon for sharing this photo with out readers. You may follow the progress of his tour at Leon’s Message Board here.

We know that Israel needs the rain after several years of drought conditions. The archaeological park was closed due to storm damage in mid-December, 2010. See here.

Here is a photo of the same area made during a dry period.

Caesarea Maritima Hippodrome. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Caesarea Maritima Hippodrome Dry. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Herod the Great built a hippodrome along the coast at Caesarea Maritima in 10 B.C. to celebrate the opening of the city. Read more here.

Peter preached to Cornelius at Caesarea (Acts 10,11).

Paul was imprisoned in the city for two years before departing for Rome (Acts 24:27; 27:1).

Caesarea National Park closed due to storm damage

The recent storm in the eastern Mediterranean caused damage to the breakwater at Caesarea and led Israeli authorities to temporarily close the Caesarea National Park. Haaretz reports here.

The head of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, yesterday toured Caesarea National Park to take stock of the damage to the antiquities by last weekend’s storm.

Calling the damage “a national disaster,” Dorfman noted that the breakwater, which was broken in three areas by high waves during the storm, now leaves the antiquities exposed to damage from any future high waves.

Dorfman expressed concern that the storm expected this weekend could further damage the antiquities.

“The damage from the storm is huge all along the coast, from Ashkelon in the south the Acre in the north,” Dorfman said adding that if the situation is not remedied immediately through extensive conservation efforts, erosion of the cliff along the beach would continue until it collapses, leading to “the destruction of many ancient cultural treasures of Israel.”

A year ago I wrote about a stormy day at Caesarea Maritima here. I think you might enjoy the photos there. Here is a new one.

High waves at Caesarea Maritima - 12/12/09 - Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

High waves at Caesarea Maritima - December 12, 2009 - Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Caesarea Maritima was a first century Roman capital and seaport. The gospel was first preached to the Gentiles here when Peter came from Joppa to Caesarea to tell Cornelius words by which he could be saved (Acts 10, 11).

Herod the Great built a city on the site of Strato’s Tower and named it Caesarea in honor of Caesar Augustus. It became a center of Roman provincial government in Judea. The city had a harbor and was located on the main caravan route between Tyre and Egypt. This city is called Caesarea Maritima (on the sea) to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi.

The Apostle Paul used the harbor at Caesarea several times. He was imprisoned here for two years before departing for Rome (Acts 24:27; 27:1).

Extreme weather in the Middle East

Most parts of the United States have severely cold weather tonight. Even here in Florida we are expecting record cold tonight and tomorrow night. One of the cruise ships was unable to enter the Tampa port today due to strong winds.

All of that reminded me about the extreme weather in the eastern Mediterranean and various parts of the Middle East. The network news showed conditions on the cruise ship that was unable to enter the harbor at Alexandria. The photo below show the breakwater at the entrance to the Alexandria harbor. The flat looking building to the right on the shore is the famous new library of Alexandria.

Breakwater at entrance to Alexandria harbor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Breakwater at entrance to Alexandria harbor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

RFIenglish has the following summary:

Twenty-six ships were barred from entering the Suez Canal and 29 vessels delayed for three hours. The waterway was hit by poor visibility and winds of up to 40 knots an hour, said an official at the canal, which is Egypt’s third-largest source of foreign revenue after tourism and remittances from expatriate workers.

Red Sea and Mediterranean ports were closed for a second day on Sunday, while an Italian container ship, Jolly Amaranto, was stranded off the north-western coast after its engines broke down.

Visibility at Cairo airport was reduced to 300 metres.

As a long drought that affected the region came to an end, temperatures plummeted and storms hit Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel:

* In Lebanon seaside roads and ports have been closed after a 45-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree hitting her car – the year’s first snowstorm hit the country’s mountains;
* Off Israel a Moldovan freighter went down near the port of Ashdod but its crew of 11 Ukrainians was rescued.
* Syria’s capital Damascus was hit by snowstorms;
* Jordan suffered sandstorms and was braced for heavy rain and snow, which could lead to flooding.

Forecasters expect the bad weather to continue on Monday and have advised people to stay indoors due to a sandstorm that has blanketed the Egyptian capital.

Read also the BBC report here, or the Breitbart coverage which Todd Bolen mentioned here.

The Israel National News reports on snow in the Jerusalem area. Haaretz says the precipitation is a boon to the Sea of Galilee which has been extremely low in recent months.

Flash floods in the Sinai peninsula

Travel in Egypt is sometimes hindered by small amounts of rain. In flat areas such as the delta an inch of rain can flood the area and make automobile travel impossible, or at least impractical. In early March, 2005, Elizabeth and I had remained in Egypt for a few days after the tour group returned home. We planned one day to go to Goshen. That morning when we looked from the hotel window in Heliopolis we observed rain. The guide scheduled to go with us on the excursion arrived, but explained that we would not be able to go due to the 1/2 to 1 inch of rain that had fallen during the night. The annual rainfall in the Cairo area is 1 1/2 to 2 inches. In Upper Egypt years may pass with no rainfall.

Rain in Cairo - March 9, 2005. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Rain in Cairo - March 9, 2005. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Egypt is less prepared for an inch of rain than many southern USA cities are for an inch of snow.

On another excursion we went to Jebel Musa, the traditional Mount Sinai, in the Sinai Peninsula. As we traveled through the Wadi el-Tor (el-Tur or al-Tur) shortly before arriving at Feiran, I noted that there had been a flash flood in the wadi. Our guide explained that this typically happened at least once each winter. He said that the asphalt paved road could be washed out by less than an inch of rain.

Wadi el Tor in the Sinai Peninsula after a flash flood. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wadi el Tor in the Sinai Peninsula after a flash flood. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Rocks polished by the winter flood were strewn across the wadi. These stones show the different rocks found in the Sinai. The red stones indicate iron. The green is copper. The black is basalt, indicating a volcanic area.

Rocks in the Wadi el Tour in the Sinai Peninsula. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Rocks in Wadi el Tor of the Sinai Peninsula. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Let us recall that the normally dry wilderness (midbar, desert) once flowed with water for the Israelites.

“He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. (Deuteronomy 8:15 NAU)

He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths. (Psalm 78:15 NAU)

Deadly flash floods in the Negev

Todd Bolen has been teaching in Israel for the past two or three weeks. He reports on heavy rains in the Negev that resulted in flooding in the area. Read the full report here.

Sometimes individuals fail to realize the force of the water and drive their vehicles into it. This often results in danger, and even death.

Nearly two years ago I wrote about Rivers in the Desert with photos showing a wadi after a night of rain. Read that article here. One of the photos I made the morning after a heavy rain in the mountains of Judea is included below. This photo show the normally dry Wadi Kelt (Qilt) at Jericho.

Wadi Kelt (Qilt) at Jericho after rain in the mountains of Judea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wadi Kelt at Jericho after rain in the mountains of Judea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It’s snowing

I see that WordPress has it snowing across my page this morning. Guess the computer didn’t take into account that I live in Florida. Enjoy the snow.

Writing in the Snow in Bowling Green

The temperature might reach 36 degrees today. There was enough snow overnight that the schools were closed today. I took advantage of the back window of my rental car to do a little writing.

“Drew” in Snow. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Rivers in the Desert

Todd Bolen, over at BiblePlaces Blog, calls attention to an article in the Jerusalem Post about an American tourist who was killed in a Flash Flood at En Gedi. He calls attention, in one of the links, to some photos I made April 2, 2006 of a flash flood in the Wilderness of Judea. Afterwards I wrote an article about it for Biblical Insights. Read Todd’s blog and then read my article below. Todd also includes a beautiful photo of Nahal David at a more tranquil time.


Rivers in the Desert is the title of Nelson Glueck’s 1959 history of the Negev. These rivers also may be seen in the Judean wilderness and in the Sinai. Thomas Levy followed up on some of Glueck’s research in a Biblical Archaeology Review article in 1990.

Wilderness of Judea Waterfall - April 2, 2006. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

If one travels in the desert during the summer months he will see a dry, desolate bad land with only an isolated tamarisk tree or shrub where the last water of the winter rain flowed. In the winter it can be different. Israel has two dominant seasons: winter and summer. The summer is dry and the winter is wet. The early rains begin about mid-October and continue till the late rains of early April. See Deuteronomy 11:14 and Joel 2:23.

he wilderness of Judea receives very little rain, but the area is affected by the rains that fall in the central mountain range (Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives; Bethlehem; Hebron). We sometimes describe the road that runs along that range as the water parting route. The rain that falls must seek its lowest level. From an elevation of about 2500 feet above sea level the water flows east through the wadis to an elevation of more than 1300 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea.

Levy reminds us that “Nahal, incidentally, is Hebrew for a dry river bed or valley that flows at most a few times a year. In Arabic, the word is wadi. The two words are used interchangeably in Israel today.” The wadi is similar to the arroyo of the American southwest.

Wilderness of Judea Waterfall - April 2, 2006. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Several members of my group told me of being awakened during the morning of April 2 by the severe storms in Jerusalem. At breakfast I explained to the group that this would be no problem for our planned sightseeing; we would just go to the Dead Sea and Masada. Eli, our guide, told the group that when we came out of the new tunnel that now cuts through the mountain between Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives, it would probably be dry. In fact it was still raining on us almost all the way to the Jordan Valley.

Our driver decided to pull off the highway onto the old road that overlooks the Wadi Kelt (Qilt) on the way down to Jericho. On the south side of the wadi there is an overlook allowing a view of the Monastery of Saint George of Koziba. There we saw one of the most fascinating sights that can be imagined. It rained an astounding 4.41 inches in Jerusalem. This is about three times what the city normally gets for the entire month of April.

In this normal desert land there was a tremendous waterfall pouring down the side of the cliff into the wadi. Our guide said, and another experienced guide is reported to have told his group, that he had never seen it like this. That evening Todd Bolen and his wife were my guests for dinner at the hotel. Todd has lived and taught in Israel for the past ten years. He has provided us with excellent photos in his Pictorial Archive of Bible Lands (see bibleplaces.com). He was excited about the photos I had taken that day and included three of them on his blog. He was headed for Galilee the next day. He reported seeing hail at En Gev on the Sea of Galilee. The Jerusalem Post ran a photo of the flooded road at the Megiddo junction, and reported that five people had died as a result of the heavy rains.

Not only could we not get to Masada that day, but we could not go to Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea. A couple of days later when we visited these sites we saw the damage to the road in multiple places where the wadis descended to the Dead Sea. Debris could be seen in the Dead Sea.

Wadi Qelt (Kelt) in the Wilderness of Judea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In forty years of travel in the Bible Lands, this was one of my most exciting days for photography. I am delighted to share it with you.

The photo below is of a typical dry wadi in the Wilderness of Judea.

A dry wadi in the Wilderness of Judea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.