WEATHER: The Return of The Chametz Virus Amid Winter Storms
Illustration: Jerusalem supermarket during Passover by Daniel Case [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia
Recent highlights include: winter cold returns Tuesday night; heavy rains, hail, and strong winds; snow on the Golan and Hermon. Our storm that ended last week took an unusual path and in the process, brought plenty of dust, thunderstorms, flooding rains, and winds that gusted over 100 km/h (62 mph). We had about 50 mm (1.9 in) of rain just overnight on Friday.
After a two day respite, our next storm arrived from the northwest Tuesday evening, to become cut off from the polar jet to its north and then reconnect to it as even colder air reinvigorates the storm as the week ends.
Precipitation should fall from Tuesday night into Shabbat — if not Sunday — and vary in intensity from light to heavy. Temperatures will be very chilly — in fact downright chilly for this time of the year. At the moment, the forecast suggests that the temperatures will be cold enough for snow on the higher elevations of the Golan on Tuesday night and then Thursday into Shabbat.
Our best chance for wet snow will be next Shabbat, but most likely folks will just see a very chilly rain at the higher elevations of the central mountains. Still, colder temperatures aloft will probably bring thunderstorms with hail.
While temperatures should turn milder, if not warm the following week, the second half may again turn towards winter once more. The month will then end with a wintry chill.
When I was growing up, we had snow days come every once in a while. These are days when school would be cancelled because of a threat of snow or an actual storm itself. When I moved here, we also had a few snow days, here in the Jerusalem mountains. Other kids had "Missile Days," when Hamas or Islamic Jihad would periodically shoot missiles at their schools so the kids could stay home and watch movies in their parents' bomb shelters. What fun!
Now, we have "Virus Days." Virus days are for all the school kids — both those that sometimes stay home for snow days and those that more frequently get missile days off from school. In fact, it looks like this will be an extended vacation — although not the kind those who pine for snow days would wish for.
People who have been exposed to the virus or fear they might have been exposed have been asked to enter quarantine. Those who have not, have all rushed to the supermarkets so they can catch the virus while stocking up for what will turn out for them to be a 14 day quarantine. This is called panic and at the moment the only reason the supermarket shelves are empty is because people bought enough food for the next month — even though the cows and chickens are not infected and there is plenty of rain to water the grains, fruits, and vegetables. There are also deliveries continuing to arrive from overseas, although there has been a slowdown due to issues relating to how to quarantine those making the deliveries.
It's really better to take more time and consider when one goes out how they can maintain their distance from others. Our infection rate (about 0.003%) is more than ten times less than in Italy (0.046%).
Of course Passover is coming — and if anything will put an end to the virus it will be the cleaning prior to Passover. No virus will remain — nor even a bacteria anywhere in any kitchen or under a bed or living room couch — and there certainly won't be any crumbs to feed the mice.
I tried to get something to eat the other day but a sign said that the kitchen was closed. Apparently, my wife was exposed to the "Chametz Virus," and is now in quarantine in the kitchen — cleaning.
So, we can hope the weather will turn warm and sunny for April — but until then our winter weather will return, giving us further reason to hope that April brings showers, not storms.
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.