Flights Out of Ben Gurion Airport Briefly Delayed Due to Storm

Heavy rain and dust storms expected to continue on Thursday before clearing gradually on Friday. Sde Dov and Eilat airports shut.

Moti Milrod

Flights out of Ben Gurion International Airport were briefly delayed on Wednesday afternoon due to the stormy weather and dust storms affecting most of the country. 

Eilat and Sde Dov airports were shut down earlier in the day.

Eleven flights that were due to take off from Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday evening were delayed. Passengers on five of them had already boarded the planes before the delay was ordered. Takeoffs resumed in the evening. 

Starting on Wednesday morning, 29 internal flights were delayed – 16 landings and 13 takeoffs. Arkia postponed 19 flights and Israir delayed 10.

Moti Milrod

By evening on Wednesday, dust levels in the Gush Dan area (which includes Tel Aviv) had reached the level of the major dust storm last September. Dust concentrations were 10 times higher than they had been on Wednesday morning – and 10 to 15 times higher than on  a normal day.

The Environmental Protection Ministry and Magen David Adom have advised people with breathing difficulties, heart and lung patients, the elderly and pregnant women to remain indoors with closed windows and avoid physical exertion.

The heavy dust is expected to continue through Thursday, before easing on Friday.

The stormy weather is expected to continue on Thursday, with strong winds, rain and dust storms, according to the Meteo-tech meteorological service. Much of the country should experience thunder storms, with flooding possible in the south and east. The weather is expected to clear towards the weekend.

Several communities in the Upper Galilee, including Kfar Szold and Lehavot Habashan, lost their electricity supply on for a short period on Wednesday due to falling trees and flooding. Several roads were also closed due to flooding.

The Minus 424 music festival, which was scheduled to take place at the Dead Sea on Thursday, has been cancelled due to the inclement weather and blocked roads leading to the location. The festical operator announced that all purchased tickets will be reimbursed in full.