As this week’s heat wave continues and with rolling blackouts looming, the beach may soon be the only way to beat the heat. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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This winter is one of the driest Israel has known since meteorologists first began measuring local rainfall, the Israel Meteorological Service announced on Thursday, a day before the end of the season in which Israel gets most of its rainfall.

The principal months of the local rainy season are December, January and February.

Despite a major storm in mid-December, since then, the amount of rainfall and the number of rainy days have been unprecedentedly low. In much of the country, this has been the second-driest winter ever, surpassed only by the winter of 1954-55. The north, for instance, has received only one-third to one-half as much rain as the multiyear average for this time of year.

The situation is a bit better in the south, but the central region has suffered a severe drought. The Judean and Samarian hills of the West Bank, for instance, received only a tenth as much rain as the multiyear average from mid-December through the end of February.

Similarly, the number of rainy days in the December-February period was only 40 to 60 percent of the multiyear average (which is different in different parts of the country). In the north and the central hills, the number of rainy days was the lowest it has been since measurements began. Haifa, for instance, had only nine rainy days from mid-December through the end of February, and Jerusalem only 12. In both cities, the multiyear average is 30.