February Was One of the Hottest in the Last Hundred Years, Israel’s Meteorological Service Determines

Only 1941 and 1955 had higher average daytime temperatures, report finds; rain levels remain unfortunately unchanged compared to previous years

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
Israeli couples enjoying the unseasonably warm weather in Israel's northern region of the Golan.
Israeli couples enjoying the unseasonably warm weather in Israel's northern region of the Golan.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

The just-departed month of February was one of the hottest Februaries in the last hundred years, according to the Israel meteorological service (IMS). Since recordings began, only 1941 and 1955 had higher average daytime temperatures in all regions. Nighttime temperatures last month were also among the highest ever recorded, with only 1955 and 2010 topping last month.

The IMS report says that last month, average temperatures in Israel’s hilly areas were 3.5 to 4.5 warmer than the multi-year average. In other areas they were 2-3 degrees warmer than average. Nighttime temperatures were also 2-3 degrees higher than average in all regions.

According to the IMS, precipitation levels in February were lower than average in the north and center of the country. In the Carmel Mountains and the Sharon and Sea of Galilee areas rainfall levels were close to average or above it. In the south, rainfall levels were higher than average in February, and this was most prominent in the arid Negev and Arava regions. The cumulative amounts since the start of the rainy season are close to the multi-year average or slightly above them in the north and in some areas in the south. In the center, levels are below average.

The IMS reports that in the central and western parts of the Galilee, in the northern coastal plain, the Carmel Mountains, the Sharon and Petah Tikva areas, the amount of precipitation exceeded the average by 5 to 20 percent. In the eastern Galilee and the Golan, rainfall levels reached 80 to 90 percent of the average over the same period. In the Hula Valley and Lake Tiberias (Kinneret) areas, amounts were close to average by the end of February. In the northern Negev the cumulative amounts are 10 to 20 percent over the average. In the central and southern coastal plain and in the Jerusalem area, the Judean hills and the Benjamin region, rainfall amounts reached 75 to 85 percent of the seasonal average.

The Hydrology Service published its annual report about water table levels on Sunday. The report finds that last month the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) rose by 37 centimeters (14.5 inches). However, this is still 56 centimeters (22 inches) below the lower danger line. The level of the Dead Sea unexpectedly rose by 5 centimeters due to intense flooding in streams leading into it.

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