Sea of Galilee Reaches Highest Level in 27 Years, While Heat Wave Breaks Records

Israel's Water Authority reports slightly stronger flow from the Dan stream in July, for the first time since 2003

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People canoeing on Lake Kinneret, August 24, 2020.
People canoeing on Lake Kinneret, August 24, 2020.Credit: Gil Eliahu

Lake Kinneret’s water level in September measured the highest for the month in 27 years, reaching 209.535 meters below sea level.

In September 1993, the previous record for that month, the level was 209.33 meters below sea level.

The Water Authority said on Thursday that during the month of August, the descent of the water level had slowed down somewhat as a result of reduced drilling, and the level dropped by 14 centimeters. From the annual high on May 15 to today, the level has fallen by 64.5 centimeters.

According to the Water Authority, during July the flow from the Dan stream stabilized and even strengthened slightly for the first time since 2003. Usually the stream’s average flow in August decreases a little.

During the month of August the Dead Sea water level dropped 14 centimeters, measuring 434.86 meters below sea level in early September. Over the same time last year, it dropped 16 centimeters.

From the beginning of the water (hydrological) year, which goes from October to September, the Dead Sea water level has dropped 69 centimeters.

A number of September temperature records were broken during Thursday’s heat wave. According to the Meteorological Service, a 118-year record in Jerusalem was broken with a temperature of 42.3 degrees Celsius. The previous record, from 1902, was 41.1 degrees.

Records were also broken in the Hula Valley and the Golan Heights. In Kfar Bloom, the mercury hit 47.0 degrees while Ayelet Hashahar reached 46.6 degrees, compared to the last records of 43.6 degrees and 43.0 degrees, respectively.

In Merom Hagolan, the service measured 40.0 degrees, compared to the previous record of 38.6. The temperature in Safed hit 38.7 degrees, breaking the previous record of 38.0 degrees. Records were also broken in Arad, Mitzpe Ramon and a few other places.

Climatologist Dr. Amir Givati says the current heat wave has been unusually long and intense. August and the beginning of September are typically characterized by stable weather due to the Persian Gulf Barometric Trough system typical of this season.

This year the trough was pushed earlier than usual by desert weather systems coming from the Red Sea area, causing extremely hot and dry weather in some regions and humid weather on the coastal plain.

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