Massive sandstorm bearing down on Israel

Heavy haze nationwide, snow on Mt. Hermon, rain in the north, dust everywhere - citizens warned to close their windows as the storm nears.

Ari Yashar ,

Sandstorm in Jerusalem (file)
Sandstorm in Jerusalem (file)
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

After the pleasant spring weather that visited most of Israel on Sunday, the country is taking a sharp jump back into winter, with a heavy sandstorm due to hit on Monday.

Meteorologists have recommended that citizens close their windows from Monday morning on, as huge amounts of dust and sand are to beat down upon the country.

As Monday progresses, a heavy haze is predicted to descend upon much of the country severely limiting visibility, and in the north and coastal region it will be accompanied by pounding rains.

The haziness and dust is to only grow stronger over the course of the day, and the winds blowing in the sand will likewise strengthen, reaching at least 90 kilometers per hour (56 miles per hour).

Then on Monday night, the rains are to become even heavier in the north, and on Tuesday afternoon the weather will continue to one-up itself, launching a full rainstorm.

Aside from the rain that is to fall during the sandstorm, Mount Hermon in the north - Israel's only ski site - is to receive heavy snow, with a full snowstorm bearing down on the mountain starting Monday night and lasting until Wednesday.

Temperatures on Monday are expected to reach highs of 16° C (61° F) in Kiryat Shmona in the north, 13° C (55° F) in Katzrin, 10° C (50° F) in Tzfat (Safed), 18° C (64° F) in Tiberias, 17° C (63° F) in Haifa, 17° C in Tel Aviv, 11° C (52° F) in Jerusalem, 22° C (72° F) in Ein Gedi, 16° C (61° F) in Be'er Sheva and 20° C (68° F) in Eilat.

The storm is to continue on Tuesday with rain and cold temperatures, snow on Mount Hermon, rain in the north and coastal regions, and continued haze in the south.

Wednesday morning will see the rain continue, although the winds will start to scale back in strength. Then on Thursday the worst of the storm will have already passed, as Israel sees partially cloudy to clear skies, and temperatures will rise.