Studying the extremes: hydrometeorological investigation of a flood-causing rainstorm over Israel
Abstract. Analysis of extreme hydrometeorological events is important for characterizing and better understanding the meteorological conditions that can generate severe rainstorms and the consequent catastrophic flooding. According to several studies (e.g., Alpert et al., 2004; Wittenberg et al., 2007), the occurrence of such extreme events is increasing over the eastern Mediterranean although total rain amounts are generally decreasing. The current study presents an analysis of an extreme event utilizing different methodologies: (a) synoptic maps and high resolution satellite imagery for atmospheric condition analysis; (b) rainfall analysis by rain gauges data; (c) meteorological radar rainfall calibration and analysis; (d) field measurements for estimating maximum peak discharges; and, (e) high resolution aerial photographs together with field surveying for quantifying the geomorphic impacts. The unusual storm occurred over Israel between 30 March and 2 April, 2006. Heavy rainfall produced more than 100 mm in some locations in only few hours and more than 200 mm in the major core area. Extreme rain intensities with recurrence intervals of more than 100 years were found for durations of 1 h and more as well as for the daily rain depth values. In the most severely affected area, Wadi Ara, extreme flash floods caused damages and casualties. Specific peak discharges were as high as 10–30 m³/s/km² for catchments of the size of 1–10 km², values larger than any recorded floods in similar climatic regions in Israel.