Illustration (Image Credit: Wix)
Wednesday was an absolutely amazing day -- if you live by the weather. It was a quite mild 20+ Celsius (60s Fahrenheit) degrees. The sun was comfortably warm, the humidity was low, and the wind even lower. Contrast that with Thursday, which was almost hot, with strong winds and the air full of Sinai dust. In fact, our dust forecast maps showed "red" values. It's been a while since I've seen such high values. Fortunately, the storm has passed, and so has the dust.
Springtime is often a time for strong winds, especially in our area. The desert areas over Africa and Saudi Arabia are heating up, while areas to our north (and the sea) remain relatively cool. The contrast is producing strong pressure gradients and hence our winds. I've actually lost two kippot (head coverings) in the last week. They've simply flown off the top of my head. I am hoping that they're not lost, but have found a home on the top of someone else's head. My wife suggest that I considering selling weather paraphernalia to match the weather -- in this case single use kippot (perhaps made of paper) -- like paper plates (but decorative). These would be perfect for the season, and environmentally friendly too.
The weather map shows that the next couple of days and the next week will be predominately under the influence of Mediterranean low pressure originating from Europe. This means cooler temperatures and a chance of showers (at the beginning and end of the week). In fact the end of next week should be as chilly as its been in quite a while. Of course, as soon as the jackets come out they'll probably go in (the closet) the week after (which may be quite warm).
Jerusalem forecast (click here for updated national forecasts):
Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald
It seems like we've had all types of weather this winter -- rain, wind, dust, and even a few (or was that several) snowflakes. It's a great combination, indicating that things have really changed for the better here. In fact, things (especially the availability of consumer goods) have been much better for many years. When I was first married, my wife mentioned even then that you could find just about anything you needed at the store or want in the supermarket. Having come from the US, I remarked that you couldn't find blueberries.
About five minutes later, there was a knock at the door. A young man had arrived from the Golan and was selling blueberries. Since then, I've been able to purchase frozen blueberries, and this winter saw the arrival of blueberries from Chile. They come in small packages, though, and are quite expensive.
This was the reason that I moved about 900 kg of mixed volcanic rock and peat moss to my backyard today. I've been experimenting with growing blueberries in pots (blueberries need acidic soil and the soil in Gush Etzion (actually, anywhere outside the Golan) is basic -- so pots are required). I've grown plants from seed -- and have demonstrated that the idea of the "survival of the fittest" applies to blueberries, too. Out of about 5000 seeds I have 10+ plants (and even picked blueberries last year from two of them).
But, in case you're not the gardening type, you'll be glad to know that private research groups have also been experimenting with growing small fruits from America (etc.) and have been providing young blueberry (and raspberry) bushes for enterprising individuals to grow and sell their fruits to local stores.
So, we may (or is that will?) really have blueberries in Israel in the next year or so. We may also have a new Prime Minister. I'll bet the blueberries come first.
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.