Israel braces for sandstorm, followed by heavy rains

The incoming storm is the result of a wintry depression coming in from the Aegean Sea, through southern Turkey and the Gulf of Iskenderun.

January 17, 2016 17:46
1 minute read.
sandstorm dust

A man rides a bicycle during a sandstorm in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Following a weekend with sunny skies and spring-like temperatures, Israeli braced for an incoming sandstorm expected on Monday, likely to precede heavy rains and unseasonably cold weather on the days that follow.

In addition to the dusty conditions expected to blanket the country’s South, causing high pollution levels, the Israel Meteorological Service forecasted light rains in the North, intensifying and spreading to the coastal plain by the evening.

The incoming storm is the result of a wintry depression coming in from the Aegean Sea, through southern Turkey and the Gulf of Iskenderun, Dr. Amos Porat, head of the Climate Department at the IMS, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

"Its preceding winds will be southerly to southwesterly and strong, resulting in haze and sandstorms mainly [Monday] and perhaps partly on Tuesday," Porat said. "Later, the winds will become southwesterly to westerly, which will bring rain to northern Israel and part of central Israel. It will be much cooler since cold air will flow from Eastern Europe and Turkey through the Mediterranean."

Monday’s dust storm could potentially endanger people with respiratory problems, children, the elderly and others, according to Dr. Amnon Ariel, head of the Israel Association of Lung Specialists and head of the pulmonology unit at the Emek Medical Center in Afula.

Exposure to dust particles cause irritation of the upper respiratory system, including the bronchi and the lungs and can cause coughing and mucous and trigger allergies, heart problems and asthma attacks. People who are sensitive to dust and suffer from chronic disease should stay indoors, he advised.

After the sands subside, frequent showers are expected to continue throughout the North and along the coast on Tuesday, with isolated rain in the Center, snow on Mount Hermon and lingering haze in the South. Unseasonably cold temperatures would likely continue on Wednesday, with rain and haze gradually subsiding that day, the forecast added.

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