Israel sweltered Friday in a prolonged heatwave that the Meteorological Service warned would last until the end of next week, with temperatures in certain regions reaching above 40°C (104°F).
The deputy director of the Meteorological Service, Dr. Amit Sebir, said Thursday that the frequency of heatwaves around the world has increased in recent decades, most probably due to global warming.
"We will be experiencing extreme temperatures that could reach as high as 35 or 40 degrees Celsius during the day with no real reprieve at night, when the temperatures are expected to remain as high as 30 degrees," he said.
Sebir said that high temperatures at night prevent buildings from cooling down, compounding the sensation of heat indoors.
"This is no longer a question of people being uncomfortable because of the heat, it could pose a threat to public health. Some countries have reported an increase in deaths related to extreme temperatures especially among the elderly," he said.
As is standard policy, the Meteorological Service had alerted the health authorities, the education system and the military of the impending heatwave, along with instructions for the general public and especially the elderly population and patients with chronic illnesses, in particular.
The service advised people to be sure to avoid exposure to the heat and sun, avoid unnecessary physical exertion, be sure to drink plenty of water and remain in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible.
The Parks and Nature Authority also advised people to refrain from hiking during the heatwave.
The Meteorological Service has released its summary of the recent rainy season noting that for the second year in a row, the rainfall recorded across the country has exceeded 130% of the annual average, an unprecedented abundance of precipitation that has not been seen since the records began in the 1950s.
Despite the heat, the Sea of Galilee level has risen by half a centimetre and now stands at 208.895 meters below sea level.