WEATHER: Snow Memories While Mourning A Lost Sister
Snow in Efrat (Image credit: Dr. Barry Lynn)
There are quick changes in store for us. However, when all is said and done it may simply be more "sound than fury." Temperatures several hundred meters above our mountain tops fell late last week, rose by Shabbat, and will fall by Monday, rise by Wednesday, and then fall again by Friday. If you're not feeling a bit of vertigo, then I am.
Both storms next week may bring periods of rain, but then again, they may not. Why the uncertainty? The break up of the polar vortex into spinning vortices has led to an injection of arctic air energy into our mid-latitude atmospheric system, creating difficulties for global forecast models as they peer into the future.
In a season of frequent rains and storms, the snow storm a week ago was a storm to remember. It was not only the severe gale winds, the flooding rains, the thunder and hail, but also the brightness of the snow as lightning lit up the sky (in thunder snow). For those who are wondering, there was a light snow covering in Jerusalem and anywhere from 8 to 15+ cm in Gush Etzion (see photo above).
People keep telling my wife that they heard it is going to snow again. I am not really sure why they are saying this, but the same thing happened last time it snowed — someone, somewhere, is starting rumors and like feathers on the wind they get blown here and there.
While some folks were spreading rumors, I was sitting shiva for a lost sister. She was actually lost to me years ago, as she suffered some calamity while growing in utero. There was no obvious reason why that happened — or even what happened — but the result was that I was born into the world as a "makeup" baby. So, in some strange way I owe my life to her lack of life — she was alive, but she didn't have the opportunity to live.
Quite frankly, I found it strange to sit shiva for someone I really didn't know. Yet, the people who visited (and I thank them for doing so) were quite understanding and encouraging. I went from feeling that I was committing "Shiva Fraud" to doing something meaningful for both my second sister and myself — and hopefully my parents as well.
I have to say that when I experience the kindness of my fellow citizens I really feel better about being here, and perhaps I can have more patience for those who seem to live in their own world — whether they are cutting in front at the border control point or cutting you off on the road. My guess is that the number of good folks far outweigh the bad ones but the acts of kindness often occur far from the public eye.
Here's hoping for better news. As someone said: my sister Nancy has been saved from further suffering. It's true but I wish that it would never have been. As it is, though, at least I am here to write this column.
Jerusalem forecast (click here for updated national forecasts):
Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald
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. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.