Heavy Rain Floods Israel

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Unusually heavy winter rains forced the closure of main access routes to Tel Aviv on Tuesday (January 8), causing gridlock in and around Israel's commercial capital, authorities said.

Traffic backed up for hours as highways into Tel Aviv were flooded, police said. Rail operator asked commuters to avoid stations in the city and train schedules were disrupted.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai told Army Radio that municipal teams were on hand to rescue anyone stranded by the floods, the likes of which last occurred in 2000. He said people who didn't need to go out should not leave home.

A mall in the central city of Modiin in Israel was flooded on Monday (January 7) as medics and fire-fighters rushed to the devastated site to help with the cleanup efforts.

The Modiin mall also flooded last year when heavy rain fell.

Shop keepers rushed to try and salvage goods on sale at the stores, sweeping water from shops with brooms.

The region is experiencing record-breaking rainfall and Israeli forecasters warned the peak of the storm has yet to hit the region. The storms were forecast to continue on Wednesday (January 9), with rare snowfall expected in Jerusalem.

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