When winter finally arrived in the capital, it came with a vengeance. Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) and municipality teams were kept working around the clock on Sunday and Monday as they struggled to repair the damage caused by the gale-force winds that blew across the city.
Trees were uprooted and split asunder, crushing cars, fences and signposts, and bringing down power cables on their way down. Two cars near the corner of Shimshon and Ephraim streets in Baka, including a recently-acquired Subaru, were crushed by most of an enormous 150-year-old eucalyptus tree, which also left two buildings without power for five hours on Sunday evening. Thankfully an IEC team arrived within minutes of the call.
“We were just round the corner repairing something on Derech Beit Lehem,” said one of the workers. We’ve been working nonstop since 7 a.m.”
Rehov Ephraim was blocked for several hours, until a municipality team arrived to cut away the offending branches, leaving the local residents to deal with the rest of the tree.
Soon after the storm abated, the municipality’s spokesman released statistics on the damage and the repair work and assistance provided. Up to Monday the Gardening Department received no fewer than 750 complaints about fallen trees and other trees that had been knocked askew by the winds. An official said that “trees were pruned, and branch fragments were collected and removed.”
Street lights were also a victim of the stormy weather, with the Lighting Department tending to 17 lampposts and 21 smashed lamps. Thirty-seven illuminated street signs also required attention.
Structures were also on the storm’s hit list, and Dangerous Building Department personnel were called out to take care of 55 pergolas, five antennae, nine tiled and tin roofs, 19 complaints about cracks in buildings and damaged fences, and there were 22 other calls of a general nature.
Municipal construction supervision teams were also kept gainfully employed over the two days of the storm, taking care of 54 cases of structural damage. The teams contacted all the relevant contractors and plot owners and instructed them to repair damaged fences and walls. In some, more urgent, cases construction supervisors themselves carried out repair work.
The municipality official said that most of the damage was repaired by
Monday and that the situation was being monitored to ensure that all
affected structures were safe.
The Road Safety Department also tended to 88 hazards during and after the storm.
Welfare Department personnel also worked overtime, both before and
during the storm. Nighttime street patrols were beefed up and social
workers were available for Jerusalemites in need 24 hours a day.
The official said that available accommodation was prepared ahead of
time and homeless people and other “at risk groups” were given a roof
over their heads at hotels with which the municipality has requisite
Hagihon Ltd. Jerusalem Water and Waste Water Works Corporation was also
busy during the inclement weather and addressed 24 incidents of flooding
and drainage blockages.