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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-137
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-137
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Apr 2019

Research article | 30 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

First reported case of Thunderstorm Asthma in Israel

Yoav Yair1, Yifat Yair2, Baruch Rubin2, Ronit Confino-Cohen3, Yosef Rosman3, Eduardo Shachar4, and Menachem Rottem5 Yoav Yair et al.
  • 1Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, School of Sustainability, Israel
  • 2Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture, food and Environment, Rehovot, Israel
  • 3Meir Medical Center, Kfar-Saba, Israel
  • 4Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  • 5Ha'Emek Medical Center, Afula, Israel

Abstract. We report on the first recorded case of thunderstorm asthma in Israel, that occurred during an exceptionally strong Eastern Mediterranean super-cell thunderstorm on October 25th 2015. The storms were accompanied by intensive lightning activity, severe hail, downbursts and strong winds followed by intense rain. The hospital admission records from three hospitals – two in the direct route of the storm (Meir Medical Center in Kfar-Saba and Ha'Emek in Afula) and the other just west of its ground track (Rambam Medical Center in Haifa) showed that the amount of admissions of patients with respiratory problems in the hours immediately following the storm increased compared with the average numbers in the days before. Following the passage of the gust front and the ensuing increase in particle concentrations, within several hours there was a noticeable increase in the number of patients with respiratory problems, in line with the pattern reported by Thien et al., (2018) for the massive epidemic in Perth, Australia. This increase in patient presentation to the ER persisted for 48–72 hours before going back to normal values, indicating that the event was related to the super-cell outflow. We discuss how the likelihood of incidence of such public-health events associated with thunderstorms will be affected by global trends of population growth, urbanization and climate change.

Yoav Yair et al.
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Short summary
During severe thunderstorms, cold outflows can eject pollen and dust particles from the surface, releasing allergens and causing Thunderstorm Asthma epidemics in sensitive populations. We report the first case in Israel on October 25th 2015. The ER admission records from three hospitals showed clear increase in patients with respiratory complaints. Such public-health events associated with thunderstorms will be affected by population growth, urbanization and climate change.
During severe thunderstorms, cold outflows can eject pollen and dust particles from the surface,...
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