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People who flocked to the shores in Tel Aviv and Herzliya to take advantage of the freak January heat wave yesterday found themselves facing a thick wall of fog.

In some places, the entire beach was shrouded in mist, while in others, the fog hovered mostly over the water, obscuring the horizon.

The mist was caused by a combination of wind from the sea and the unique mid-winter heat wave. According to the Meteotec meteorological company, there a layer of warm air in the atmosphere prevented the humid air from the sea from dissipating, creating a dense cloud along the shores.

This is a phenomenon familiar in areas like the U.S. West Coast. Such mists sometimes appear in Israel, the meteorologists said, but very rarely in broad daylight. A dry easterly wind blowing over Netanya prevented the mist from forming further north.

Such atmospheric conditions can worsen air pollution, since the contaminated air hangs in place, forming a long, brown cloud along the shore. The Environmental Protection Ministry said yesterday there was indeed a stable smog cloud in the morning, but that it was gradually dissipated during the day.

The fog caused problems for aviation, and Tel Aviv's Dov Hoz Airport closed around midday. Incoming flights were redirected to Ben-Gurion Airport, and a number of take-offs were postponed, affecting hundreds of passengers. The small Tel Aviv airport mainly serves flight to and from Eilat. It was gradually reopened later in the day, with only aircrafts equipped with low-visibilty navigation taking off at first.