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Hope everyone is warm...

by michael January 18 2008
WeatherMunicipal news

The last couple of days have been more or less seasonal for a Jerusalem winter - those three interminable months of harsh wind, driving rain, gray skies and empty streets - but man, was it cold earlier this week. A few days at or below freezing in a row, and everything starts to go to Hell. Like, for example, everyone's dvadei shemesh, the solar-powered water heaters on every rooftop in Jerusalem. It turns out that a few days of cold isn't accounted for in the design:

Hundreds of Jerusalem residents found themselves with no hot water or with water flowing through their apartments after the solar panels on their roofs froze over, a city plumber said Tuesday.

The temperature in Jerusalem dipped to freezing for the third consecutive night Monday, although meteorologists forecast that the mercury would rise starting Wednesday.

Plumber Yonah Mishaan, who received some 40 emergency calls on Tuesday alone, said there was a run on hardware stores for the NIS 10-20 copper caps for the heaters due to the unusually cold weather.

He added that the problem stemmed from the pressure getting too high and causing leaks.

"This happens once in a blue moon," Mishaan said. "It has really been a crazy few days."

In the meantime, he urged residents to leave a faucet dripping in order to avoid such an occurrence.

Nothing like being in a cold apartment with no hot water. Local shortsightedness when it comes to winter is an odd thing; it gets below freezing every winter, and it snows almost every winter, but somehow it's always a surprise - and somehow, many apartments still don't have heat installed. And as far as anyone thinking to put insulation in all that cold Jerusalem stone, forget it.

Jerusalemite thinks we should stop pretending we have a perfect Mediterranean climate all year round. And Jerusalemite also hopes your shower is suitably hot. Stay warm!

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