Sunbathers at Achziv Beach on the northern coast.
Sunbathers at Achziv Beach on the northern coast, August 2010. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky

The heat wave that has hit the entire country for close to two months continued over the weekend and does not show any signs of easing up in the near future. The mercury is not only two to four degrees above normal, but the heat is combined with high levels of humidity, creating particularly high heat stress.

Forecasters say the seasonal low pressure system that generally moderates the heat slightly is not being felt as much as usual, while hot air from the tropics at higher levels of the atmosphere is pushing up the thermometer.

Temperatures topped 30 degrees Celsius in Tel Aviv Saturday and reached 33 in Haifa, drawing large crowds to the beaches as Israelis sought respite from the 60-percent humidity that prevailed along the coast. Temperatures in Tiberias were over 40 degrees Celsius yesterday and reached 43 at the Dead Sea.

No relief is in sight today, and tomorrow will be very hot with a high in Jerusalem of 35 degrees. The temperature in the capital will drop only slightly Wednesday, with an expected high of 33.

Elsewhere around the country temperatures Monday will also only ease slightly, with minor relief from the heat forecasted for Tuesday. The risk of wildfires is high.

Another feature of the current weather patterns - on top of the high heat and humidity - is that the mercury is not dropping as much at night. Tel Aviv and Haifa will see lows of 25 to 26 degrees Celsius, close is usually seen at this time of year during the day.