Sandstorm brings with it suffocating air pollution

Health Ministry warns sensitive public to batten down the hatches at home, as dust pollution levels spike to as high as 9 times average.

Ari Yashar ,

Man covers his mouth in dust storm (file)
Man covers his mouth in dust storm (file)
Flash 90

The massive sandstorm due for Monday has already caused air contamination levels in the coastal region and south to spike, as dust particulates clog up the airways.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection announced Monday that the haze has cause air pollution throughout the country, with a particular rise in pollution measured in the afternoon in the coastal and central district.

In Modi'in the air pollution stands at nine times the average, in Rehovot and Be'er Sheva it is at eight times normal, and in Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh and Ashdod it is seven times higher than normal. In Haifa the air pollution is at six times the average.

The Health Ministry has issued a warning to members of the public who are sensitive to air pollution, advising them to stay at home as much as possible and avoid physical exertion. The warning applies to those suffering from asthma, heart or lung diseases, the elderly, children, and pregnant women.

Construction contractors have likewise been warned by the Economics Ministry not to work at heights during the sandstorm, and likewise not to use cranes in the heavy wind or conduct work with explosives.

An intense spike in the concentration of dust particulates in the air has been in progress since the morning, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and the air quality is to grow even worse following the afternoon hours, with high to very high air pollution in all regions of the country.

Over the course of Monday meteorologists anticipate that the strong wings will only build in force, bringing with them heavy clouds of dust primarily in the south and in the coastal region as well. The southeastern winds bring with them haze, dust and sand from Israel's deserts, leading to a dust storm in the Negev.

Later in the day rain is anticipated in the north, and overnight it will grow stronger and make its way to the coastal region.

Strong winds are expected to beat down on Israel on Tuesday, reaching highs of 85 kilometers per hours (53 miles per hour) and mostly focusing in on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountainous regions. Snow is to fall on Mount Hermon in the north, with rain in the north and coastal regions accompanied by possible flooding in the coastal cities.

Then on Wednesday the weather is to take a turn for the more pleasant, as the rains die down and stop in the afternoon hours. Thursday is expected to be partially cloudy with a rise in temperatures, although on Shabbat the rains are to make a repeat performance.




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