Impacts of non-local versus local moisture sources on a heavy (And deadly) rain event in Israel

Barry Lynn, Yoav Yair, Yoav Levi, Shlomi Ziskin Ziv, Yuval Reuveni, Alexander Khain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Motivated by poor forecasting of a deadly convective event within the Levant, the factor separation technique was used to investigate the impact of non-local versus local moisture sources on simulated precipitation and lightning rates in central and southern Israel on 25 and 26 April 2018. Both days saw unusually heavy rains, and it was hypothesized that antecedent precipitation on 25 April contributed to the development of deadly flooding late morning on the 26th, as well as strong lightning and heavy rains later the same day. Antecedent precipitation led to an increase in the precipitable water content and an overall increase in instability as measured by the Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). The deadly flood occurred in the area of the Tzafit river gorge (hereafter, Tzafit river), about 25 km southeast of the city of Dimona, a semi-arid region in the northeastern Negev desert. The heavy rains and strong lightning occurred throughout the Levant with local peaks in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Factor separation conducted in model simulations showed that local ground moisture sources had a large impact on the CAPE and subsequent precipitation and lightning rates in the area of Jerusalem, while non-local moisture sources enabled weak convection to occur over broad areas, with particularly strong convection in the area of the Tzafit river. The coupled impact of both moisture sources also led to localized enhanced areas of convective activity. The results suggest that forecast models for the Levant should endeavor to incorporate an accurate depiction of soil moisture to predict convective rain, especially during the typically drier spring-time season.

Original languageEnglish
Article number855
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • CAPE
  • Flooding
  • Heavy precipitation
  • Lightning
  • Precipitable water
  • Soil moisture


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