Stormy weather in Tel Aviv [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Heavy winds battered windowpanes and dust particles swirled visibly in the Tuesday evening sky as Israelis braced for a severe incoming storm.
For the remainder of the week, the Israel Meteorological Service has forecast continued winds accompanied by rain and thunder.
The storm is the result of a deep depression coming in from the Mediterranean. It is now located between Crete and Cyprus, and gradually moving east, according to IMS climate department head Dr. Amos Porat.
After a weekend of warmth and sunny skies, unseasonably cold temperatures are likely to accompany the rains and winds for the remainder of the week, the forecasts said.
“We have been in the warmer section of the depression, so it felt warm, but we will soon be in its colder part and it will feel much colder,” Porat told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “It is a wintry cold front and it doesn’t seem like a rare event, but we shall have to wait and see the outcome.”
Throughout the day on Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Ministry warned of very high air pollution levels, particularly in the Negev, due to airborne sand and dust. Air quality will improve significantly once the expected nighttime rainfall begins, gradually improving further on Wednesday, the ministry said.
As a result of the storms, the ministry recommended that the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with heart or lung issues refrain from strenuous physical activity.
The upcoming storm is also liable to cause hypothermia (low body temperature) in some people, especially babies and the elderly, the Health Ministry warned on Tuesday.
Hypothermia refers to a body temperature of 35 degrees Celsius or below. It can lead to health issues and in extreme cases even death.
Caregivers should keep rooms at 24 degrees, and no less than 21, especially when babies and the elderly are present. Attention should be given to senior citizens people who live alone.
Check the safety of heaters in the home. Insulate doors and windows so that cold air is prevented from entering, but note that gas and kerosene heating requires a periodic airing out.
Babies and the elderly should be dressed in layers of light clothing that does not prevent them from moving. Old people who are frail should not leave the home under very windy conditions, as they can be knocked over.
As a result of the temperatures, winds and expected precipitation, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he had instructed relevant municipal departments, such as emergency staff, to prepare. Should snow fall in Jerusalem, the municipality is ready, a statement from the city said.
The municipality likewise reminded residents to check heating systems, as well as make sure trees and branches in private gardens were properly pruned. In addition, the city instructed residents to refrain from discarding cardboard boxes and trash bags outside bins.
To prevent pipe bursts, it is important to open faucets slightly and allow them to drip, the municipality added.
Two high-school students who went missing during a class trip to the Little Crater on Tuesday after getting separated from their group in the hazy weather, were found late Tuesday night by rescue workers.