Ash from Eritrean volcano unlikely to affect Israel travel

Ash from Eritrean volcano spreads over southern and central Israel; residents of the Golan Heights and Galilee cope with unseasonal rain.

Chile lightning and volcano ash 521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Chile lightning and volcano ash 521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While ash from an Eritrean volcano did end up spreading over southern and central Israel on Tuesday, air traffic will likely not be affected, both the Israel Airports Authority and the Israel Meteorological Service said.
The volcano erupted in the East African country at 9 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Toulouse regional office of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, and was reportedly set off by a series of earthquakes.
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Ash from the eruption reached Israel on Tuesday morning, but at a height of 35,000 to 45,000 feet – over 20,000 feet above domestic air routes – according to Evgeny Brainin, a forecaster for the Israel Meteorological Service.
“It’s above our country from the Center to the South – it’s very high and it’s a very light concentration, so it’s not going to affect any planes or aircraft,” Brainin told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday evening.
Despite earlier fears that the ash cloud could affect international flights passing over southern Israel, Brainin said he now feels the ash cloud is too sparse to do so.
“By now it’s not troubling any air traffic,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, the Israel Airports Authority spokesman said it has not put in place any sort of special arrangements to deal with the volcano ash cloud and that it does not foresee it being a problem for Israeli aviation.
“Of course we have our finger on the pulse and are watching what is happening, but the cloud is too high and isn’t moving in our direction,” he said. “Of course, there can always be surprises, but there’s no reason to worry in the meantime.”
Israeli aviation fears are further tempered by the very low number of relevant flights passing through the area of the ash cloud, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, Tuesday brought strange weather to both the northern and southern regions of the country.
Residents of the Golan Heights and the Galilee were surprised on Tuesday morning to awake to rain, a rare occurrence in June. The precipitation was accompanied by increased winds.
The wintry weather is not expected to last for long, however. Wednesday is expected to be dry with an increase in temperatures – which is back to normal.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.