Weather: Remembering a role model amidst forecasts of rain

"Humboldt Redwood Forest" by Scrubhiker (USCdyer) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

​The latest forecasts are trending away from a moderately heavy rain event sometime late Shabbat into Sunday. However, Thursday's global ensemble (GEFS) forecast indicated that the storm would pass close enough to bring a period of rain late Shabbat. The ensemble forecasts show that temperatures should fall to relatively cold levels both near the surface and aloft, and humidities should approach 100% as well.

This is the storm we spoke about very early this week, but the details are yet to be ironed out. Another storm should move our way early this coming week, but then pass to our north. The GEFS indicates that another fall rain storm is possible again late next week. So, the rain chances keep coming, we just need to cash in.

One reason that it is difficult to forecast for our area is that the storms -- like our country itself - are relatively small compared to storms elsewhere. Where I grew up, it might be raining or snowing over an area several hundred kilometers -- from Washington DC to Connecticut. Here, if it rains in Haifa and Tel-Aviv at the same time, we're having an unusual storm.

Jerusalem forecast (click for other forecasts):

Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald

While our weather may be "small-scale" and our country's size just the same, the people who live here are like giants. And when they pass away, it is like a redwood tree falling after 1000 years.

Here, I speak about Dr. Noam Charatz, who died on Wednesday morning, after falling very ill the previous week. I knew Dr. Charatz before I was his patient because he decided -- at a not young age -- to study for a Masters of Science in Atmospheric Science. It turned out that he was involved in a project that examined the relationship between intense lightning and heavy rain. It was quite a success, and it gave us the excuse to end our doctor-patient meetings with a word about the weather, our previous disappointments and our wishes for a rainy and snowy winter.

It is ironic that a person who helped so many people died himself unexpectedly. Yet, it is tragic irony because Dr. Charatz was not your typical doctor. He was the person you went to see for an ache or pain that needed tending to, but long after that ache or pain was gone, you were still returning to him -- if not for another ache or pain -- but just to stay healthy. He knew a tremendous amount, and he knew what to "run" after and what not.

The last time I saw him, though, was another example of his special qualities. He was the one that diagnosed my illness and sent me for treatment. Yet, his last words at the end of my visit were those of optimism -- with a touch of excitement, telling me that the prognosis was very good because I didn't yet have any obvious symptoms. He was correct, but he didn't just say it, he expressed it in more than words, encouraging me to believe that all would be well.

Because of his expertise, Dr. Charatz treated patient after patient, and then some. His schedule was far too busy, and he invariably fell behind. Appointments were scheduled every 8 minutes and then those requiring urgent care were sometimes 2 minutes later. Yet, if one knew (and most did) that he would give each person the utmost and necessary attention, one brought a phone, a computer, or a book, and one didn't mind the wait -- but was just grateful for his care.

During my wife’s last appointment, he received a call from the office saying that people were complaining about the wait. He was very angry that they seemed to expect him to rush his treatments; when my wife pointed out to him that he was getting close to pension age, he told her that he wasn't sure he would make it. Foresight or not, he is no longer with us and the voices one hears are those who wonder who can possibly replace a man of his stature and kindness. They wonder who can now guard them through the years.

Yet, Dr. Charatz was not only a doctor -- he was a father and grandfather, too. At the levaya (funeral), one heard from those who spoke that his attention to his family was no less than what he gave to his extended family, his patients.

My grandparents also passed away relatively early and my parents continued much of their adulthood without parents. While I wasn't old enough to miss my grandparents, I have been blessed to have parents who have lived longer lives than their own. I am not sure how my parents got by or how they dealt with their loss. I found out later that I ignored that (I guess it was too painful).

We can't ignore the passing of Dr. Charatz -- and it seems too hard to believe -- but we should do more than honor his memory. We should strive to be like him.

Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk.

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...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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