Heat Wave Leads to Another Record Day for Energy Demand

The country broke an all-time record yesterday afternoon, with the Israel Electric Corporation reporting an energy demand of 11,200 megawatts.

The company stressed that they were able to answer the demand thanks to consumers, who have responded to the call to use energy-consuming devices outside peak hours.

Emil Salman

Last week forecasters said the heat wave would continue into this week, and so the company renewed the call, asking customers to avoid using energy-consuming devices between noon and 5 P.M. These devices include dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, electric stoves, water heaters and vacuum cleaners. The company also advises air conditioners be set at 25 degrees Celsius.

Despite the public's positive response to these requests, Israel's energy reserves are low and the company said it fears that any technical failure will lead to an electricity shortage.

The heat wave continued yesterday, with heavy heat stress registered throughout the country. Temperatures yesterday were up to 5 degrees above the average inland, and up to 2 degrees above the average in the coastal areas.

In Tiberias and in the Beit She'an Valley the heat reached new heights yesterday, with most residents opting to stay indoors throughout the day.

"There's no traffic on the street," said Moshe Mizrachi, a restaurant owner from Tiberias. "People don't leave their homes and the few that do, walk in here to buy water. No one is even thinking about food in this weather."

Mizrachi said his restaurant sales have dropped by 30 to 40 percent since the heat wave began. "This heat is inhuman, unnatural. I'm sticking to the air conditioner. It's hotter in the street than in the kitchen."

Today temperatures throughout the country are expected to rise by up to 3 degrees, but in central Israel humidity is expected to drop from 70 percent to 55 percent.

"Thursday's weather can be described as a heavy sharav in both the mountains and inland, with conditions warmer than usual along the coast," said Nahum Malik, a meteorologist for the Meteo Tech weather forecasting company.

"Friday will be much like Thursday, and though temperatures will drop slightly on Saturday, the humidity will go back up, so the heat stress will be very high," Malik explained. "The temperatures will drop some more on Sunday, by about two to three degrees, but it will still be warmer than usual. We may only return to normal August temperatures on Monday."

"So far it seems this will be the warmest summer of the decade, but we'll know more as the days continue," he said.