By Peter Hessler, AP EditorIt’s been nearly a year since Israel’s Meteorological Agency (IMA) announced it would shut down its meteorological operations in Israel after an unprecedented drought and a deadly storm, and now, two years after that decision, the agency has reopened operations.
According to a statement issued Wednesday by the Israel-based Meteorological Services Authority (MSAA), the agency had decided to shut down the meteorological activities due to the unprecedented drought that began in November 2016 and continued throughout March 2017.
“We have come to the conclusion that the meteorology is no longer a professional service and the agency’s operations will be no longer carried out by professional staff,” the statement said.
The agency had previously announced it was planning to shuttered its meteorology offices, which were staffed by professional meteorologists, and put those operations into a “distressed state” and temporarily closed the agency.
The MSAA said it would not comment further on its decision until the agency reopens operations.
“With the start of spring, and the continuation of the dry period, we are not in a position to comment on what will happen to the meteorologics, but the fact remains that this decision has been taken to put the agency into a distressed state,” said MSAAs spokesperson Yael Eitan.
The decision to close down the Meteorological Administration was announced in February and followed a year-long drought in which the country suffered through the worst drought in decades.
Israel has had one of the driest summers in recent memory, with the country enduring a devastating drought that saw millions of people go hungry and hundreds of thousands of homes submerged.
Israel also has the world’s worst record of droughts, having suffered more than 1,000 droughthesias in 2016 alone.