Israel Braces for Extreme Temperatures as Heat Wave Leads to Wildfires Across the Region

Temperatures across Israel are predicted to linger above 30 degrees Celsius in the coming week

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People in a restaurant in Tel Aviv, two days ago.
People in a restaurant in Tel Aviv, two days ago.Credit: Hadas Parush

A scorching heat wave in Israel is expected to intensify on Sunday, with forecasts predicting temperatures to exceed 41 degrees Celsius (105 Fahrenheit) in the country's north and south.

In Jerusalem, Israel’s largest city, the high is expected to be above 34 degrees Celsius, as temperatures in Tel Aviv are predicted to linger around 33 degrees until Wednesday. Further north in Haifa, the weekly high is estimated to stay at about 31 degrees.

The temperatures do not show the entire picture, however, as they do not take into account the humidity levels – notoriously high along Israel's Mediterranean coast – or the intensity of the sunlight.

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The country’s meteorological service uses a discomfort index to get an elaborated account of the forecasted weather. The index is expected to be at moderate to heavy levels throughout nearly all of the country next week.

The service defines a discomfort index of above 30 as “extreme.” That number is forecast to be met or surpassed for several days in a row next week in Tiberias, Beit She’an, Eilat, Ein Gedi, Afula, and Kiryat Gat.

People at the beach in Tel Aviv, on Thursday.Credit: Moti Milrod

Meanwhile, a heat wave across southern Europe, fed by hot air from Africa, has led to wildfires across the Mediterranean, including in Turkey, Lebanon and Italy.

Experts hesitate to associate particular episodes of extreme weather with climate change. But the unexpected intensity of some events in the last month, such as the recent floods in Germany, China and India, the repeating heat waves in North America and the Middle East, and the sheer preponderance of extremes, suggest that climate change is upon us.

Greenhouse gas emissions have continued to climb and experts caution that more temperature increases and heat waves are inevitable.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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