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One dead, dozens injured as thunderstorms, hail pound Israel

© Chaya Schulman
Israel's first winter storm entered with a thunderclap on Sunday morning, with unusual weather along Israel's coastal region endangering lives. 

A 20-year-old man was critically injured after a wall collapsed on a construction site in Pardes Hana. He was transferred to Hillel Yafeh hospital in Hadera, where he was confirmed dead. "We found an unconscious young man under a pile of cinder blocks, without a pulse and not breathing," Yehuda Haim, an MDA paramedic at the scene, stated to Channel 2. 

Dozens injured 

A 20 year-old woman was injured late Sunday morning in Hadera after a tree fell on a public bus. She was transported to Hillel Yafeh hospital in serious condition. 

In the Samaria community of Har Bracha, a 17 year-old suffered from head trauma after a tent collapsed due to high winds. MDA medics treated him at the scene and transported him to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva. A 20 year-old woman at the site also suffered light injuries, but was treated at the scene. 

Several crane accidents at building sites in the Central Israel and Sharon areas have been reported. Two specific incidents - a crane crash near Tel Aviv's Azrieli towers, and another in Netanya - have reportedly left no injuries. 

In Netanya, a power line went up in flames next to a kindergarten; no injuries are reported. A large tree fell in the yard of a kindergarten in Petach Tikva; no injuries are reported. 
© Fire and rescue service

Five trees fell at major intersections and streets in Ashkelon, including Efraim Tzur, Shaar Yashuv, the Anne Frank square, HaNasi, and Tzahal. No injuries are reported, but at least one power line went up in flames. In Herzliya, flash-floods stranded several cars in the city streets. Hail was reported in Israel's northern areas as of late Sunday morning. 
© Fire and rescue service
Infrastructure damaged 

Power outages have been reported nationwide, the Israel Electric Company (IEC) reports, and the IEC estimates significant damage to Israel's power infrastructure. IEC workers have been dispatched to affected areas, including Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, and Holon. 
© Yaffa Finkelstein
The Sde Dov airport in Tel Aviv, which largely handles domestic and commercial flights, has been closed until further notice. As of 10:30 am Sunday, Israel's Ben-Gurion airport has announced that it does not plan to cancel incoming or outgoing flights despite the inclement weather. Travelers, however, are encourage to keep abreast of developments and be in contact with their airlines. 

Several car accidents nationwide have been reported since the storm began. Traffic has been closed in both directions along Route 977 from Kfar Blum to Tzomet Guma due to a number of trees and fallen power lines blocking the road; traffic has been closed for similar reasons from Kibbutz Galuyot St. in Tel Aviv toward the Ayalon Highway. The storm marks a sudden reversal in Israel's weather, which has stubbornly clung to 26°C (80°F) average temperatures since midsummer. 


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