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February 8, 2016 / 29 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Electric Workers’ ‘Italian Strike’ Keeps 200,000 Israeli Homes Dark after Storm

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

(JNi.media) An Italian strike, also known among Leninist scholars as Work-to-rule, is an industrial action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract, and precisely follow safety or other regulations in order to cause a slowdown, rather than to serve their purposes. In Italy, this action is known as “sciopero bianco,” or white strike. In Israel, one such strike this week has caused a wave of irritation and rage, whose outcome is not yet clear, in an estimated 200,000 households.

IEC CEO Ofer Bloch apologized on Tuesday morning in a special session of the Knesset State Control Committee, to hundreds of thousands of Electric Company customers who lost their service during a storm Sunday, and were left in the dark for between one and two days. As of Tuesday morning in Israel, there are still at least 8,000 households without service.

“As a service provider of an essential service, we apologize are making every effort to restore power as quickly as possible,” Bloch told the committee, explaining that with the onset of the storm some 200,000 customers had been cut off. “This is an unprecedented event in the history of the country,” he argued. “In the last 48 hours, I’ve been going around and meeting with workers and hearing from them that none of them remember a situation like this where huge trees fell and lay on power lines and electricity was cut off to entire communities. 340 power lines collapsing, it is a fantastic figure.”

Be that as it may, and IEC employee memory notwithstanding, at 7 PM Monday, many hours after those 200,000 households had lost power in historic proportions, the IEC management appealed to the Haifa District Labor Court with a complaint that their workers’ committee was sabotaging the functioning of the company in a time of crisis, and asked the President of the Tribunal, Judge Alex Kogan, to order heads of the committee to stop doing that, according to Ha’aretz.

The descriptions management offered to the labor court reflected a level of disruption that caused management’s complete loss of control over the situation, even after it declared a state of emergency.

From the same IEC complaint it turns out that the workers’ committee ordered employees—in the emergency headquarters management had set up—to end their shift promptly at 5 PM Sunday and leave the area. In fact, the same report alleged that the emergency headquarters were abandoned as early as 3 PM Sunday, despite the fact that between 150 and 200 thousand households were still cut off and were calling for help.

In addition, the workers’ committee banned moving maintenance staff between trouble spots. Workers in Ashdod, for example, were not allowed to go to Ra’anana to help their colleagues, who were collapsing under the weight of system failures in the Sharon valley—Israel’s multi-million resident bedroom community north of Tel Aviv). In addition, the committee prevented maintenance workers from helping to connect electricity to homes, because this task is outisde their job description.

According to company executives, the committee eliminated the reinforcement of network supervisors, who are required to monitor power lines quickly and effect damage control. And so, with 300 power lines down, only a single supervisor was on duty — working from home, Homer Simpson style.

In addition, the committee instructed employees not to comply with management’s orders regarding a change in shift hours, but to come to work in the morning as usual and finish in the afternoon, like any day — depriving Management of the ability to extend its response and effect repairs through the night.

Thousands of Israeli Families Still ‘Powerless’ for 24 Hours After Winter Storm

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Monday morning dawned grey and cold and wet and powerless for thousands of Israeli families in central Israel whose homes were hit on Sunday with the first winter storm of the season.

Hundreds of thousands of homes suffered intermittent blackouts.

High winds, rain and hail led to hundreds of homes losing power and basic infrastructure being damaged in some areas, according to the Israel Electric Company. Fallen trees damaged power lines in many areas, creating further damage but also dangerous situations in neighborhoods with children and pets.

Gusts of up to 75 to 92 kilometers per hour were recorded at Ben Gurion International Airport, which remained open despite the rain and hail. Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv was closed by the Israel Airports Authority for several hours but reopened by the afternoon.

By Monday morning, some homes Herzliya, Ra’anana, Netanya, Hadera, Ramle, Kfar Saba, Ness Ziona, Rehovot and even in some Tel Aviv neighborhoods were still without power.

A construction worker was killed in Pardes Hanna, and two people were hurt when a ten collapsed in the Jewish community of Har Bracha in Samaria. Flash flooding brought rescue workers out in force to extract people from vehicles unexpectedly caught in the storm, and people trapped in elevators when the power went out.

By mid-morning Monday, the sun was peeking out, however, despite a forecast that held the promise of more rain for later in the day and into the week, possibly until Thursday.

First Winter Storm Smacks Israel

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

A winter storm sailing in from the Mediterranean smacked the State of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and surrounds on Sunday morning with wind and hail — gale force wind and hail the size of baseballs, that it.

Strong winds and hail the size of National League baseballs struck hard in northern Israel as the country got its first real taste of winter.

Gale force winds swung a crane out of control and crashing down in Netanya, injuring several people in the northern coastal city. Magen David Adom emergency medical response teams rushed to the scene.

In Pardes Hanna, a wall collapsed at a construction site. One 20-year-old man was mortally wounded in the collapse; he was rushed to Hillel Yafeh Medical Center in Hadera but could not be saved.

In the Samaria community of Har Bracha, two people were hurt when a tent collapsed due to the high winds, a 17-year-old teenage boy and a 20-year-old girl.

The Israel Electric Company (IEC) reported power outages in various areas across the north and damage to infrastructure where the “baseballs” struck “home.”

Tel Aviv’s local airport, Sde Dov, was closed for several hours. The airport handles mainly domestic and small commercial flights.

Other areas that have been affected included Tel Aviv and a number of surrounding suburbs including Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, Holon and Petach Tikvah as well as Givat Shmuel. The cities of Ra’anana, Ramat HaSharon and Netanya also saw a number of power lines downed by fallen trees from high winds.

More rain and wind in the forecast has raised the risk of flash flooding in the evening hours, including in the east and south.

Violent Virus Destroying Israeli Tomatoes

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

(JNi.media) The tomato mosaic virus disease, which is raging these days in the Negev, is destroying entire tomato greenhouses, Yediot Ahronot reported. In tomatoes, the virus causes the foliage to show mosaic (mottled) areas with alternating yellowish and dark green areas. Leaves are sometimes fern-like in appearance and sharply pointed. Infections of young plants reduce fruit set and occasionally cause blemishes and distortions of the fruit. The dark green areas of the mottle often appear thicker and somewhat elevated giving the leaves a blister-like appearance. Often the entire plant is dwarfed and flowers are discolored (Source: University of Minnesota).

Since Rosh Hashanah eve, Israeli consumers have been suffering from a shortage of some vegetables—most notably tomatoes and cucumbers—and a sharp rise in prices. The exceptionally hot weather in Israel in August and early September, in addition to the virus, has hit tomato and cucumber crops. A special government fund that compensates farmers in times of natural disasters, has received 350 complaints about the damage to tomatoes, three times the number in previous years during the same period. However, complaints about heat damage to cucumbers were equal in number to last year—about 100. According to the Farmers Association, tomato yields have decreased by 40% due to the heat wave and 10% more because of the virus. Low supply and high demand for the holidays led to the rise in prices.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), acted only after produce prices had begun to rise, and the newspapers were predicting a shortage before the holidays, according to Israel Channel 2 News. In early September, Ariel announced the removal of restrictions on duty-free imported vegetables from Jordan and elsewhere. Ultra-Orthodox Israeli consumers have been relying on produce from Gaza throughout the previous year, in compliance with the Shmitay year restrictions.

Israeli farmers blame the government, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture, for a lack of planning. They also accuse the wholesale chains of aggressively pressing farmers to reduce prices, leading to some of the farmers leaving the industry altogether. The government blames the weather.

Showers Expected Day after Prayers for Rain

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

The first rains of the winter season are expected on Tuesday, one day after Jews around the world begin adding to daily prayers that God “brings the wind and rain.”

The change is made during the prayers on Shemini Azereth, the same day that Simchat Torah is celebrated in Israel. In the Diaspora, the two holidays are marked on separate days, ending Tuesday night.

In Israel, a special request for rain is added to prayers two weeks later, while Jews in Diaspora make the change on December 4.

Precipitation is expected to begin after noon in the north and center of the country on Tuesday and spread to the Negev at night and on Wednesday. The heaviest rainfall is predicted for the Galilee area, in the north.

Weather models indicate another warming trend at the end of the week, but is may be followed by a longer respite from the long hot summer, one of the hottest on record.

Temperatures will rise on Friday through next Sunday, according to longer term indications, but cooler weather is possible from next Monday through the entire week.

New Year, Old Weather

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Rosh HaShanah will be hot, not as hot as the miserably sticky days Israel has suffered this summer, but still hot. And without dust.

The long-term outlook is a bit optimistic, with temperatures dropping a bit after the Fast of Gedalya, which begins the morning after the two days of Rosh HaShanah.

The haze that blanketed Israel this past week with a blanket of dust will get in its last licks for another day.

Temperatures will hover around 34 degrees Celsius (94 Fahrenheit) today and on Shabbat and will drop two degrees Celsius for Rosh Hashanah.

The mercury will fall another tiny notch on the fast day to 31 C (88 F) and later in the week to 28-29 C (83-84 F).

It is too early to predict the weather for Yom Kippur, but weather models indicate that it will be a bit cooler, or at least less hot, with the chance of a drop or two of rain.

However, the models indicate that there may be another round of hot weather but with extreme changes during the holiday of Sukkot.

Stay tuned.

Another Massive Heat Wave Hits Israel, Middle East

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Israelis headed back to the beach on Sunday — at least, those who were not hiding out in buildings with air conditioning or beneath really efficient ceiling fans.

This is the third such unseasonably high heat wave to hit the region in less than a month.

In Egypt, where temperatures rose as high as 114 Farenheit over the past week, the heat-related death toll has risen to 93. Most of those who died were elderly.

Israel’s Health Ministry is urging the public to remember to drink plenty of water. The ministry is particular urges the elderly and those with chronic conditions during the current heat wave to avoid exposure to the sun and heat as much as possible, and to also avoid physical exercise in addition to drinking plenty of water.

Sweltering temperatures in Israel on Sunday are predicted for up to 99 F (37 C) in Jerusalem and 95 C (35 C) in Tel Aviv. But it will feel much hotter, due to the humidity – in Tel Aviv, for instance, it will feel like 113 F (45 C).

Temperatures are expected to soar as high as 104 F and above (40 F) on Sunday in other areas throughout the country — as high as 115 F (46 C) in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat.

At the Dead Sea, a haven for medical tourism in the skin care industry, temperatures are predicted to reach 111 F (44 C) but will feel more like 119 F (48 C) due to the humidity.

In the northern Negev, in Be’er Sheva, temperatures will climb to 108 F (42 C).

In the Jordan Valley, temperatures are predicted to hit 118 F (48 F); around Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), the temperatures could climb to 113 F (45 C) – but because of the afternoon humidity, it will feel like 136 F (58 C).

In the north along the coast, as in Tel Aviv, in Haifa it will hit 95 F (35 C) and in the Golan Heights, the temperatures will also reach a relatively cool 102 F (39 C).

The current heat wave is expected to last at least into Tuesday, although the temperatures may drop a little by then.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/another-massive-heat-wave-hits-israel-middle-east/2015/08/16/

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