Israel sizzles in record temperatures
On Thursday, the highest temperatures were recorded in Jerusalem since records were first kept 140 years ago. It was 42°C during the day and 31.5°C at night. On Friday it was 49°C in Yotvata in the southern Arava near Eilat and 48.9°C in the Red Sea resort itself, easily beating the 1996 record of 45°C.
Records fell throughout the country. At Sde Boker in the Negev it was 42.7°C, beating the 1978 record of 39.9°C, at Kibbutz Galgal in the Jordan Valley (just north of Jericho) it was 47°C, beating the 2006 record of 45.7°C and at Kfar Blum in the Upper Galilee its was 47°C, beating the previous record of 43.6°C. On the Golan Heights it was 40°C, beating the previous record of 38.6°C.
For the most part the sweltering weather struck Israel's inland regions with a relatively temperate 34°C on the Mediterranean coast over the weekend, although the higher humidity there of up to 95% increased the intensity of the heat.
Accompanying the heatwave has been record electricity consumption. Last Thursday Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) reported that consumption reached 14,662 megawatts, 1,000 megawatts above last summer's record.
Temperatures have dipped only slightly over the past few days and will continue to fall on Monday and Tuesday but will remain well above seasonal averages. On Wednesday and Thursday temperatures will rise again towards the upper 30s°C and the first half of September will almost certainly be the highest-ever on record.