Just in time for Hanukkah on Sunday evening, Israel is bracing for its first round of real winter weather. With an unusual cold front arriving over the Sabbath, the lack of humidity will prevent the front from bringing snow or precipitation.
Strong winds are predicted all over Israel, with temperatures rising slightly on Sunday to a balmy 11°C (51 °F).
The Israel Electric Company said in a statement, “We are prepared for any and every emergency and we will ensure that the power stays on.”
Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s emergency response unit, issued a series of advisories in preparation for the rapid change in temperature and weather. “Care should be taken to strengthen the ties of various objects outside, such as patio chairs and tables, lamps, clotheslines, and toys, in order not to affect pedestrians. It is important to be careful while opening and closing windows due to the high winds, as they may slam shut suddenly.”
Residents are warned to take care that heaters are safe and kept away from flammable items. Also, kerosene heaters should only be used if they are in good working order and in well-ventilated areas. Care should be taken to check for signs of carbon-monoxide poisoning, such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness.
The public is also warned to beware of hypothermia, particularly among the elderly. Signs include trembling, decreased or irregular heart rate, slow breathing, and pale or bluish skin. MDA advises to dress victims warmly and keep them warm and dry until medical help can arrive. Frostbite should be treated with lukewarm water.
In addition, MDA volunteers will be handing out sleeping bags and blankets to the homeless around Israel.