Low temperatures will descend upon Israel over the weekend, meteorologists predict Friday, after weeks of erratic rain in the region.
Highs on Friday will reach only 12°C (53.6°F) -13°C (55.4°F) in hillier regions, with lows expected to hit freezing (0°C, or 32°F) overnight.
By region, temperatures are predicted to span between 2°C (35.6°F) -14°C (57.2°F) in the Golan Heights; 3°C (37.4°F) -10°C (50°F) in the Galilean Hills; 11°C (51.8°F) -20°C (68°F) in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) area; 8°C (46.4°F) -16°C (60.8°F) in Haifa; 10°C (50°F) -18°C (64.4°F) in Tel Aviv; 6°C (42.8°F) -11°C (51.8°F) in Ariel; 5°C (41°F) -12°C (53.6°F) in Jerusalem; 8°C (46.4°F) -17°C (62.6°F) in Be'er Sheva; 7°C (44.6°F) -13°C (55.4°F) in the Negev hills; 16°C (60.8°F) -20°C (68°F) in the Dead Sea area; and 11°C (51.8°F) -22°C (71.6°F) in Eilat.
By Saturday afternoon, the highs in Jerusalem will be a mere 10°C (50°F); in Tzfat (Safed), 7°C (44.6°F); and in Be'er Sheva, 16°C (60.8°F).
One Channel 10 meteorologist predicted snow in the Golan Heights and Galilee over the next week, following the first winter snowfall on Mt. Hermon Thursday.
Despite this, the skies are predicted to be sunny throughout the weekend, though it will reportedly have no effect on the cold front.
Cold and public safety
Magen David Adom (MDA) released a series of advisories ahead of the cold wave Friday morning, noting that strong winds are expected nationwide and to plan for both the wind and cold accordingly.
"Care should be taken to strengthen the ties of various objects outside, such as patio chairs and tables, lamps, clotheslines, and toys, in order not to affect pedestrians," they stated. "It is important to be careful while opening and closing windows due to the high winds, as they may slam shut suddenly."
MDA also warned the public to be vigilant when using gas ovens or coal fireplaces, and watch for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is tasteless and odorless, and could cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, and malaise; when unchecked, carbon monoxide poisoning could be fatal. The medic group alerted the public to ventilate their homes and call MDA's 101 hotline at the first sign of a carbon monoxide leak.
The public was warned, as well, to keep space heaters and radiators away from cloth or other flammable material, after the number of heating-related fires has begun to rise with the falling temperatures.
MDA advised the public to keep alert for signs of hypothermia as well, particularly among the elderly. Signs include trembling, decreased or irregular heart rate, slow breathing, and pale or bluish skin.
MDA advises to dress victims warmly and keep them warm and dry until medical help can arrive. Frostbite should be treated with lukewarm water.
Meanwhile, the Israel Electric Company (IEC) insisted it was ready for the cold wave Thursday, stating they have about 3,000 MW in reserve.
The statement follows national outrage in October, when the first winter rainstorm left over 50,000 households in the Sharon area without power during the height of the storm - and left 2,000 households without electricity for four days.
Sharon-area mayors and the IEC traded accusations over the power outage, with the IEC blaming its own workers for dragging their feet in restoring power when thousands of Israelis called to complain.
Ministry of Health advisory
The Health Ministry has warned parents and teachers to keep children inside as much as possible for as long as temperatures remain low.
Homes should be kept at, or close to, 24°C (75.2°F), it added, and rooms kept humidified.
Despite the low temperatures, the Ministry also advised the public to be careful to keep hydrated, including drinking between 8-10 glasses of water per day - even without a feeling of thirst.
While indoors, the public should be careful to keep active, to help circulation and overall health, it said.