Flights out of Ben Gurion temporarily halted

Dust storms expected to continue over next two days, along with strong winds, thunderstorms and rain.

Cynthia Blank,

Tel Aviv skyline during dust storm
Tel Aviv skyline during dust storm
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Flights departing from Ben Gurion International Airport were temporarily halted Wednesday afternoon as a result of dust storms across Israel. 

Shortly after 6 p.m. flights out of Ben Gurion Airport resumed. Earlier on Wednesday, the Israel Airport Authority also shuttered the Sde Dov and Eilat airports due to the high winds. 

Heavy winds downed trees and carried in the dust storm overnight Tuesday/Wednesday, bringing air pollution levels to 15-25 times the normal level and raising safety concerns.

Meteorologists report that the dust storm was brought by winds as high as 60 kph (37 mph) from Jordan and Saudi Arabia - bringing with it sand, and therefore, air pollution. 

The Environmental Protection Agency and Magen David Adom have advised all "populations at-risk" - including the visually-impaired, the handicapped, the elderly, pregnant women, and children - to refrain from intensive physical activity outdoors until the storm passes. 

Stormy weather is expected to continue over the next two days, with strong winds, rain and dust storms all predicted. 

According to the Metro-tech meteorological service, much of Israel will suffer thunderstorms on Wednesday with possible flooding in the southern and eastern parts of the country. 

Skies will only clear Friday or over the weekend.