Israel hit by extreme heatwave and worst is yet to come
Unseasonably hot temperatures - predicted to stay above 40 degrees celsius in some parts of the country throughout the weekend - coincide with Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer, prompting the authorities to advise the public to refrain from lighting traditional bonfires
According to Meteo-Tech meteorological company, while in northern and central Israel the weather will be very hot, in the south of the country (and in the Sea of Galilee region) the temperatures will reach extreme heights.
In the northern city of Haifa, the temperatures will range from 36 degrees celsius during the day Sunday to 25 degrees at night. In Tel Aviv, the weather will be slightly cooler with a range of 32 degrees during the day and 25 degrees at night. In the southern city of Be’er Sheva, temperatures will range from 40 degrees throughout the day to 26 degrees at night. In Jerusalem, the temperatures will also be high, reaching 35 degrees celsius during the day and falling to 26 degrees overnight.
The unseasonable heatwave coincides with the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer, which prompted the Fire and Rescue Services to restrict the bonfires that traditionally accompany the celebrations. For instance, fires are not allowed to be lit in any forests, even in areas designated for such activity.
“With the weather being so dry and the temperatures so high, lighting bonfires would be detrimental to our health,” said Tzahi Wachsman from the Meteo-Tech.
"I think the bonfires to be unnecessary for many reasons, especially since the heatwave is expected to hit not only along the coastal plain, but in the forested areas - Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Galilee - as well,” said Wachsman. “The fires, accompanied by dry weather and strong winds, could inflict damage and - God forbid - spread to forest areas.”
The Health Ministry urged the public to take precautionary measures since such extreme weather entails health risks. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority urged the public to refrain from prolonged walking outside at least until Friday evening.
On Thursday, the heatwave will intensify, with extremely high temperatures - ranging from 37 degrees to 43 degrees celsius - will be felt throughout the country.
On Friday, the heatwave is expected to peak, with temperatures in southern Israel - especially the Arava region - becoming scorching and could reach up to 48 degrees.
The temperatures are expected to ease on Saturday, while still remaining unseasonably warm.