Researchers stumped as dust storm persists in Israel for third day

As a thick haze shrouded Israel’s buildings and roads for the third day in a row on Thursday, scientists continued to ponder the equally hazy meteorological explanation for the dust storm, the strongest and most polluting such event to hit the country in 15 years.

The dusty conditions are the result of sandstorms raging in the Syrian desert.

However, why and how these sandstorms began at this time of year – and ultimately blew south to Israel and its neighbors – has puzzled meteorologists.

There have been no reports of such significant haze in early September since the country began recording weather measurements 75 years ago, Dr. Amos Porat, head of the Israel Meteorological Service’s Climate Department, explained on Tuesday, the first day of the event.

The sandstorms, which he described as “unprecedented for this time of year,” flowed into the region by northeasterly winds at a low altitude.

Dust storms in Israel are more typical in the winter and spring.

Dust levels have been so thick that the Environmental Protection and Health ministries have issued ongoing warnings advising that people with pulmonary or cardiac conditions – as well as the elderly, pregnant women, and children – stay indoors and refrain from physical activity. Continue reading…

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