Israel braces for a snowy Thursday

Municipalities in J'lem, Safed, Golan, MDA and IDF prepare for stormy weather.

February 4, 2010 02:47
3 minute read.
Magen David ambulances in the snow.

MDA ambulance snow 311. (photo credit: MDA)


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Amid weather forecasts predicting snow on Thursday, Magen David Adom, the IDF and local authorities were preparing for the cold weather ahead.

Rains, winds and low temperatures were expected throughout the country on Wednesday night, with the coldest temperatures predicted on Thursday morning, when snow is expected to fall in Jerusalem and in areas higher than 800 meters above sea level in the Galilee and Golan Heights.

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In light of the expected snow, the Jerusalem and Safed municipalities issued instructions to snow-plowing teams for opening major roads to traffic. The Golan Regional Council readied snow plows and was coordinating its actions with the IDF snow removal team.

The IDF was also preparing for the snow, with soldiers stationed on Mount Hermon instructed to wear special protective gear.

Magen David Adom put its stations in the Golan, Upper Galilee and Jerusalem on alert.

Ambulances with four-wheel drives have been prepared, and MDA experts have marked out the areas where snow could accumulate. Supplies of gasoline, electric generators, warm protective clothing for staff members and other things needed for emergencies have been bolstered. The protocol for treating people with frostbite were sent to medics to remind them.

If there is snow, MDA asks the public to stay indoors as much as possible so as not to slip on hidden ice and break their limbs. In addition, it urges the public – especially parents of young children and caregivers for the elderly – to ensure a steady warm temperature of at least 21 degrees Celsius – and preferably 24 degrees – in homes during the icy weather.

Use flannel sheets and wear warm bedclothes, the first aid and ambulance organization advised. Have emergency lighting at the ready if power fails.

Meanwhile, as the ski season opened on Mount Hermon, ski teacher and co-owner of the Skimulator ski simulator company, Atmon Meltzer, said that the slopes will probably be crowded, raising the risk for collisions and accidents, especially among skiers with little experience.

Beginners should go to routes marked for new skiers (marked in green) rather than intermediate (blue), advanced (red) and expert (black) slopes.

Broad routes that are not very steep should be preferred by beginners, he said, while the narrower and steeper ones should be reserved for the experts. Ski simulators for training beginners are available in Haifa, Emek Hefer and Holon.

As there is often sun at the slopes served by Neveh Ativ, snow often turns into slush; the next day, after freezing night temperatures, the slopes turn into ice, which makes skiing very dangerous, said Meltzer.

The lack of ski equipment suited to the skier causes more than half of the accidents on the slopes; never rent or buy equipment such as shoes, bindings and skis that are too big for the user, he continued.

Skis should be between 15 and 20 centimeters
shorter than the user’s height. One must first learn how to come to a halt and turn, shifting the center of gravity from the shoes to the skis. Without this skill, serious accidents can result.

Mount Hermon has more rocks and boulders than most ski sites, thus being unfamiliar with the route can be very risky. Go only on the recognized routes with the fewest impediments. Do not slide down the hills uncontrollably with plastic sheets as this can lead to collisions with skiers.

Everyone on skis must wear a safety helmet at all times. About 30 percent of those on the slopes fail to wear helmets, making them more likely to have fatal accidents. Meltzer advises wearing sunglasses so as not to be blinded by the snow or sun; also apply sunscreen to reduce the risk of sunburn from rays reflected by the snow.

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