Israel braces for several days of stormy weather

Flood conditions, strong winds, unseasonable cold and possible snowfall are expected to batter the region beginning on Shabbat and continuing on for at least several days after.

January 22, 2016 07:08
2 minute read.
Snow in Jerusalem, February 20, 2015

Snow in Jerusalem, February 20, 2015. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

After two days of respite from the sandstorm and rains that enveloped Israel earlier this week, the country is poised for a lengthier episode of thunderous storms forecasted to start on Saturday.

Flood conditions, strong winds, unseasonable cold and possible snowfall are expected to batter the region beginning on Shabbat and continuing on for at least several days after.

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“The system will have several waves so it will be quite a prolonged one,” Dr. Amos Porat, head of the Climate Department at the Israel Meteorological Service, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Although weather forecasting models were split about whether conditions would be cold enough for snow in Jerusalem, Porat stressed that the country would be experiencing significant precipitation in the coming days.

The incoming wintry system is the result of an upper air trough with a surface depression in the eastern Mediterranean, he explained. A meteorological trough features low atmospheric pressure, as opposed to a ridge, which features high atmospheric pressure.

While the IMS predicts clear to partly conditions on Friday, isolated rains would likely begin to fall from the North to the northern Negev on Saturday, potentially accompanied by thunderstorms. Snow is expected to coat Mount Hermon on Saturday, while a risk of flash floods would prevail in the Judean Desert, with temperatures dropping and winds strengthening throughout Israel.

Following a night of intense rains, Sunday would likely feature showers and thunderstorms from the North to the northern Negev, along with strong winds, continued flood and flash flood risks and snow on the northern mountains.

By evening, the IMS forecasts a chance of snow in the central mountains as well. Hazy conditions are expected to blanket the South, with a continued unseasonable cold around the country, the forecast added.

The IMS predicts occasional showers, predominantly in the Center and South, on Monday, with a chance of light snow on the northern and central hilltops in the morning that day. A risk of floods in low-lying areas, as well as unseasonable cold nationwide, would continue for the day.

Ahead of the expected storm, the Israel Electric Corporation announced that it is reinforcing its work teams in the field and its service center operations. The company brought in backup generators to the Safed, Golan Heights and Jerusalem regions, in order to cope with potential power outages. In recent weeks, workers also expanded tree pruning and logging efforts, a statement from the firm said.

Despite the numerous preparations under way, the IEC stressed that strong winds could still lead to the collapse of trees and various other objects that could cause damage to the country’s electricity networks. In addition, stormy conditions could cause road blockages and delay the arrival of repair crews, the statement said.

The company reminded members of the public to refrain from touching torn electrical wires and to report any damages immediately to the IEC at *103, to the Israel Police at *100 or to the company’s Facebook page.

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