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Israel braces for another heat wave

The Health Ministry urges the public to take precautions.

People enjoy the water in Gan Hashlosha National Park, aka Sakhne, in the Beit She'an Valley, during an extreme heat wave, Aug. 13, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
People enjoy the water in Gan Hashlosha National Park, aka Sakhne, in the Beit She'an Valley, during an extreme heat wave, Aug. 13, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

The Israeli Health Ministry is urging the public to take precautions ahead of an extreme heat wave forecast for later this week.

The ministry on Monday called on the public, particularly the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, to avoid exposure to the sun and undertaking any unnecessary physical exertion.

For those who need to be outdoors, the ministry recommended wearing a wide-brimmed hat as well as light clothing, applying sunscreen and drinking plenty of water.

The Israel Meteorological Service is predicting temperatures across the country in excess of 34 Celsius (93.2 Fahrenheit) from Wednesday to Saturday.

Last month, Israelis sweltered under a heat wave, breaking records for electricity usage.

The extreme temperatures were blamed for the death of a soldier during a training exercise, the suspension of some flights at Ben-Gurion Airport, and significant agricultural damage.

Temperatures as high as 41°C (105.8°F) were recorded in areas of the Jordan Valley and the Lower Galilee.

In July, a hot front nicknamed “Cleon” engulfed the country as well as much of the eastern Mediterranean region, the Balkans and most of Europe.

Israeli authorities in March published a forecast of possible extreme weather scenarios caused by increasing global temperatures.

The National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) in the Defense Ministry and the Israel Meteorological Service examined the possible ramifications of having two severe heat waves in the course of the months from June to September, during which temperatures in the country could reach 49 degrees Celsius (120.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

A scenario crafted to help government bodies prepare for extreme heat waves found that mortality rates could increase by 8.5 percentage points, peak electricity consumption would increase by 10% and the chance of fires would rise.

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