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Dangerous heatwave hits Israel as temperatures approach 104F in Jerusalem

Temperatures were higher than usual for August, the hottest month of the year

Israelis at Nitzanim beach, August 9, 2023. (Photo: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Electricity providers in Israel struggled to deal with the increased demand as a scorching heatwave hit Israel over the weekend. Temperatures soared to almost 40°C (104°F) in the Jerusalem area on Friday and Saturday.

In the Jordan Valley, temperatures even reached 45°-47°C (113°-117°F), Ynet news reported.

While temperatures in the coastal plain and the greater Tel Aviv area only reached a seasonal 32°C (90°F), the humidity rose to 75%.

Temperatures like these are unusual, even for the month of August, which is typically considered the hottest month of the year.

Due to the high energy demand for air conditioning cooling units, Sunday also saw a new all-time record for electricity use in Israel.

Ynet reported that electricity usage reached 15,690 megawatts on Sunday, with at least half of that demand coming from the use of air conditioning units.

The consequences of the unusual heat wave were felt throughout the country.

On Monday, ALL ISRAEL NEWS offices in Mevaseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem, lost power for several hours, likely due to the all-time high energy demand in the region.

The Israel Airports Authority stated on Monday that delays are expected due to the weather and its effect on control systems at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.

Medical officials urged the public to avoid the sun during peak hours, drink plenty of water and to give particular attention to children and the elderly.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority closed a number of national parks and reiterated the ban on lighting bonfires and grilling in open areas, following a raging wildfire.

On Sunday, a wildfire broke out in the valley between Kiryat Ye'arim and Giv'at Yearim, in the Judean hills near Highway 1.

Israel's Fire and Rescue Authority led a several-hour operation, requiring the use of multiple planes, before managing to get the fire under control. While there was no major damage reported, the firefighting operation resulted in long delays on Israel's main highway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

On Sunday, multiple municipalities, including Rehovot and Petach Tikva in central Israel, sent their cleaning and construction workers home at 10 a.m. due to the dangerous heat levels.

A two-year-old toddler suffered a heatstroke near the Sea of Galilee and had to be evacuated to a hospital in serious condition.

The temperatures began dropping slightly on Monday, but are expected to remain higher than usual until at least until the middle of the week.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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