Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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11 Sivan 5759 - May 26, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Heat Wave to End on Tuesday

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A severe and unusual heat wave that brought record high temperatures for this time of year has lessened and is expected to break completely on Tuesday. The rest of the week is expected to be about average for May. This type of heat is known as a chamsin or sharav.

49 degrees Celsius (nearly 122 Fahrenheit) in the shade was recorded at the Allenby Bridge crossing in the Jordan Valley, the highest reading since 1942 at any time of the year. The all time high there was 51 degrees in June 1942. A new record was set in Eilat, as well, where the temperature reached 45.1 Celsius (about 113 Fahrenheit). The previous record was 45 degrees, recorded in 1980. In June, 1942, 45 degrees was also recorded at Kibbutz Tirat Zvi in the north.

The Meteorological Service said cooler weather and a marked drop in temperatures is expected for Tuesday through to the weekend. However, it was still hotter than usual for the season. In the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, Eilat and the Negev, temperatures on Tuesday were still expected to be above 37 degrees (98.6F). On the Mediterranean shore, though, temperatures were not expected to above 30 degrees (86F) and in the Judean mountains, they were expected to remain between 28 (82F) and 30. It was predicted that a further drop in temperatures would occur by Wednesday. Uri Batz, duty forecaster at the Beit Dagan weather station, said that there is a chance of rain and even thunderstorms in the Arava and Jordan Valley and an attendant risk of flooding.

The heat wave put a strain on the Electric Corporation's generating capacity, which was almost stretched to the limit to meet demand caused by the sudden increased use of air conditioners. The unusually early time caught the Electric Corporation unprepared, as some 2,000 megawatts of its capacity was unavailable due to renovations and maintenance. Peak demand on Monday was 6,390 megawatts at 2:30 in the afternoon, only 10 megawatts short of the available power. Last year demand on that date was only 4,525 megawatts.

The hot and dry conditions contributed to fires that broke out in several regions. Blazes were reported on the Golan Heights, in several places in the Haifa area, including about 20 dunams of forest near Usfiya on Mount Carmel and near Kfar Hassidim. Most of the fires were brought under control quickly with the aid of light cropdusting planes.

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