Dust storm blankets Israel, causes flight cancellations


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A major dust storm over Israel caused the cancellation of flights and kept many Israelis indoors.

The storm, which began Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday, caused low visibility throughout the country, leading to the cancellation of all domestic flights. International flights leaving from Eilat also were canceled or relocated.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, all fights out of Ben Gurion International Airport were cancelled as well.

The dust came from Saudi Arabia on high winds. Air pollution levels are up to 30 times higher than usual, but meteorologists said the average levels are still much lower than the September sandstorm that hit Israel.

The Israel Electric Corp. announced on its website and Facebook page that there could be “failures in the power grid” due to the storm, and that the combination of the dust and the rain that is predicted to follow could cause power outages.

People suffering from breathing problems, as well as pregnant women, the elderly, and those with chronic heart and lung conditions were warned to remain indoors.

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