Israel Braces for Heavy Rain, Strong Winds

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel storm
Fog and rain in the holy city of Tzfas as the storm front moves in, Thursday. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Israelis across the country were bracing for a fierce storm bringing heavy rain, hail and powerful winds from Thursday night through Shabbos morning.

The Yerushalayim municipality issued a storm advisory that residents should be prepared for precipitation and winds of up to 60 miles per hour.

“Residents and business owners are asked to keep areas clean, to ensure that garbage is disposed of in garbage cans (so as to prevent garbage from blocking drainage openings),” the advisory read. “Cut and remove trees and branches in private gardens in close proximity to cables, check the safety of electrical systems, and equip them with emergency lighting and heating kits. Clear objects that are not secured and are at risk of falling such as flowerpots, planters, furniture and signs. Avoid standing under sheds, pergolas, huts or temporary structures.”

Israel storm
Ashdod port, as the storm approached Thursday. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

In Tel Aviv, sand berms were being fortified along the beachfront as a precaution against predicted 20-foot waves that could cause flooding in the low-lying areas.

The airports authority said it was on alert for disruptions to flight schedules due to the weather, and that all flights to Eilat had been diverted to Ben Gurion International Airport.

Freezing temperatures and snow was reported on Mount Hermon as early as Thursday morning. Managers of the ski site purchased 70 tons of salt to keep approach roads open. The site has already had some 9.8 inches of snow.

Emergency responders, including police, ambulance and rescue units, were readying staff and equipment for emergencies.

The Education Ministry ordered all school field trips on Friday canceled in anticipation of the turbulent weather. Schools were planning to open as normal.