One of the most popular day trips outside of Jerusalem is to drive to the Dead Sea and Masada. Some tourists like to take their own cars because the route is pretty simple but you have to be aware of the weather situation before you decide to take the trip. When there is rain in the surrounding areas it collects at the top of the desert mountains and comes down in the “nahalim” (streams) as a flash flood.
As you pass over the mountains and enter the desert area just past Maale Adumim you will notice a complete shift in the weather. It can be stormy in Jerusalem and dry in the desert. I recently went on a day trip with my extended family visiting from Los Angeles. We rented a large bus and relied on our guide and bus driver to tell us that the road was safe. The only flash flood we had ever seen was on the Universal Studios Tram Ride in Los Angeles.
We made it to Masada without a problem but we did pass two areas where the water flooded the highway. Because our bus was so large we were able to go through it easily but we spotted a small car on the road that was stranded because the water reached up to their door handle. The two men inside were playing on their ipads and waiting for the police to come and rescue them.
This is a great video showing what happened the week that we went down to the Dead Sea. So before you plan your next trip down and especially if you plan to drive alone, please check the conditions of the road by calling *2120.