Hamsin in Israel

Those known Hamsin days in Israel combine extreme heat dryness and dust chase away Israelis to seek shelter under air-conditioners.

The Israeli Hamsin is a climate phenomena caused by dry desert winds arriving from the Sahara desert through Egypt. It is believed to occur 50 days in a year and hence its name, derived from the word Fifty in Arabic.

The Hebrew word given to Hamsin is “Sharav”. It occurs in the transition seasons, between winter and spring and between summer and autumn.

Hamsin is one of the known identifiers associated with the country, just like the Ekaliptus trees used to dry the swamps at the early days of the Zionist settlement. Israelis associate Hamsin with the beach, the sun and silence (like before a Tornado, only without the fear…). Hamsin typically means a lost day at home under the air conditioner.

Cool breeze flows in as the Hamsin goes away, sometimes followed by raindrops.

Dangers of Hamsin

Beyond romanticism and inconvenience, Hamsin presents a real danger of dehydration and even death.

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Typical Hamsin Scene in Israel
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Bright sun and Dust

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Pictures courtesy of http://www.jerusalemshots.com

Hamsin brings together extremely dry air, strong sun and pollution due to the dust in carried the air. This combination can be harmful. People don’t notice that their body is losing liquids and are exposed to dehydration. Combined with dusty air and strong sun it may caused headaches, migraines etc.

In Hamsin days it is therefore advised to drink often (even if not thirsty), wear a hat and sunglasses. Outdoor physical activity is not recommended in Hamsin days.

E-H Dictionary

English How pronounced Hebrew
Desert Midbar מידבר
Dry Yavesh יבש
Air Conditioner Mazgan מזגן
Headache Ke’ev Rosh כאב ראש
Dehydration Hitiabshut התייבשות

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