Illustration (Image Credit: Wix)
It's been a month since our last rain (the end of February) and it's been warm as well. In contrast, the eastern United States has seen four Nor'easters — lots of snow and chilly temperatures — while western Europe and even as far south as Italy have seen unusual cold and snow as well. There are winters where only one such Nor'easter occurs. Some might blame this on the weather pattern — and they would be correct. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has been strongly negative since early March. The result has been that the eastern US as well as parts of northern/western Europe have been unusually cold. Both have been strongly impacted by what we call "troughs" or lower heights associated with wave-like lines of constant pressure. The colder the air, the more dense it is, and the lower the heights. In contrast, here in Israel, we've been under the influence of a ridge (higher heights) and warmer temperatures more similar to Africa than Europe. Well, the good news is that the NAO is moving into a positive phase, at least for the next week or so. The result has already been felt. Last Friday, the temperatures reached 30 Celsius (86 F) here in Efrat (Jerusalem), while on Shabbat the high was 13 C (55 F)!
Boy did I hear it from the crowd! Almost everyone who descended the stairs to our living room said that I said it would be hot again on Shabbat. I never said any such thing. This begs the question: if my own family doesn't know the weather, then I really wonder if anyone (at all) is listening to me.
I pondered this rather discouraging situation while walking our dog — who actually prefers chilly weather over hot weather — in a very light rain. We met someone, whom I know uses (or at least used to use) this weather site, who said, "Was this rain forecast?" I answered, "Well, if it wasn't, it should have been." I realized that I had just learned the key to success in life: don't admit mistakes and be positive about the future. Here's some positive news — our chilly weather of last Shabbat and early this week will be followed again by above normal temperatures. This will be accompanied by periods of dust, especially over the south. However, Wednesday should see another trough approach. This one should have plenty of cold air and moisture to trigger heavy showers on Wednesday (tropical showers to start), but then as the cold air entrenches itself there should be periods of rain lasting (possibly) through Erev Pesach (Friday evening). The time for the heaviest rain is most likely on Thursday.
Considering how nice it is to see our green fields and hillsides, we could use the rain! Also, our lack of rain in March means that we're at about 60% of normal for the year in the Jerusalem area. So, we have some catching up to do. Yet, as the days of Pesach progress, the weather should become warmer and drier — perfect for being outdoors.
Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald
While I am not sure what other life lessons I've learned from being a meteorologist, I have learned a few things about our country. Israel is a place where you bump into people you never see. This makes you realize how small it is and you wonder why the powers to be want us to give half our country away. Israel's a place where someone who asks if your car is for sale, and you say no, he then wishes you years of enjoyment and care free use. Israel is full of people with a good attitude about life. Patience comes to those that wait. In Israel, you wait for the winter to come. You wait for the flowers and trees to bloom, and for the dust to lift. You wait at the beach for that wave that will really bring a thrill. Finally, a wise person knows now what he knew then. I think that we've all become wise to the intentions of the Palestinian leadership: they don't want to share our land — they want it all. With that knowledge going forward, we can be sure to take care to guard what we have, and remember that we came to this land to live in it, not to give it away!
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.