Forecasters, the self-proclaimed prophets of the weather, announced that a semi-rare ‘medicane’ (a low-grade hurricane in the Mediterranean) will hit southern Israel and Egypt over the weekend. Though the arid conditions of the region and warm waters prevent full-blown tropical storms and hurricanes, medicanes can cause considerable damage from high winds and flash floods. The storm system spreads over 300 kilometers across

Egypt has already been hit with heavy rains and bad flooding over the past week, killing 11 people in the Cairo area.

The storm comes just days after the end of the holiday of Sukkoth when Jews around the world began praying for rain. The holiday was marked by unusual weather which included extreme thunder and lightning across the country which was especially poignant since Jews were dwelling in flimsy booths for the holiday. Many Sukkoth, temporary dwellings symbolizing man’s temporal existence, were destroyed, knocked over by powerful winds. Jews begin praying for rain on the holiday of Sukkot and the special prayer for rain will continue until the holiday of Passover.

Rabbi Yekutiel Fish,  an expert in Jewish mysticism who blogs in Hebrew under the title ‘Sod Chashmal,’ noted that the unusually turbulent weather comes while Jews read the first portion of the Torah that tells of the creation of the world.

“The first word of the Torah בראשית (Genesis) is composed of the letters ברית אש (covenant of fire),” Rabbi Fish wrote. “This hints at the union of black fire with white fire that was used by God to write the Torah. But the Torah only reveals to us the white fire. That is why the parchment surrounding the written letters is as holy as the letters themselves.”

The rabbi noted that this was mirrored in the appearance of lightning in the night sky.

“This is the marriage of heavens and earth, the covenant between God and all of Creation,” the rabbi said. “The marriage between God and Man can only take place when the union between men and women is conducted in purity.”

Authorities in Gaza have declared a state of emergency.

Israel was suffering from a five-year drought but last winter, prayers for rain were answered and the Kinneret, Israel’s main source of drinking water, rose more than seven feet.