Avoid strenuous outdoor activities, environment ministry advises.
By Haaretz | Feb. 11, 2015

The fierce dust storm that has swept Israel over the past 24 hours has resulted in air pollution levels that are the highest recorded in the past five years, the Environmental Protection Ministry reported on Wednesday morning.

The pollution consists of tiny dust particles that in penetrating the respiratory system can irritate the lungs and blood vessels and cause particular problems for susceptible population groups such as the elderly, the chronically ill, pregnant women and infants. The ministry recommends that these groups avoid outdoor physical activity as much as possible.

Air pollution levels are expected to remain high in most of the country through the afternoon and evening on Wednesday and dropping only with the arrival of rain later in the day. The showers are expected to begin in the north and spread to the center. Snow is predicted for the highest elevations in the Golan Heights and the Galilee. Some snow may fall in the mountains in the center of the country, but will most likely not accumulate there, according to The Meteo-Tech forecasting firm. Winds of 60 to 100 kilometers per hour are expected. The Mt. Hermon ski resort was closed Wednesday morning due to the weather.


Weather brought worst pollution in 5 years – YNET

Environmental Protection Ministry says sand and dust storm was one of the largest in Israel in 5 years; in the north, snow is expected to fall on Mount Hermon.

Ilana Curiel
Published: 02.11.15

After a week of spring-like weather, winter returned to Israel on Wednesday as extreme winds blew and a haze settled.

Pollution caused by sand and dust storms blanketed the country, said the Environmental Protection Ministry. The pollution levels measured over the previous 24 hours were unusually high compared to previous years.

On a national level, it was the largest and most widespread sandstorm measured in Israel in the last five years. Similar levels were measured in March 2012 and May and December of 2010.

“The severe air pollution is expected to continue until the noon-afternoon hours, when significant rainfall is expected and the dust will settle. An additional improvement in the quality of the air is expected from the Sharon plains and coastal area to the Gush Dan area during the afternoon and evening hours. The air pollution will continue in other areas of the country at least until nightfall,” the Environmental Protection Ministry said.

Wednesday’s forecast predicted that rainstorms in the north would spread to the coastal plain, while snowstorms were expected on Mount Hermon and the northern Golan Heights.

Waves in the Mediterranean Sea were to range between five and seven meters (16 – 23 feet) near the shore, and 10 to 12 meters (about 33 – 39 feet) further out.

All internal flights were grounded on Wednesday morning, with the Eilat airport closing because of low visibility. International flights continued to operate as scheduled.

The weather was expected to remain unusually cold throughout the entire week.

Ahiya Raved contributed to this report.