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Jerusalem - Unseasonable, Extreme Heatwave Expected To Hit Israel On Lag B'Omer

Published on: May 21, 2019 08:44 AM
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A traffic sign directing to the holy Jewish site of Meron, in Northern Israel, on May 20, 2019. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90A traffic sign directing to the holy Jewish site of Meron, in Northern Israel, on May 20, 2019. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90

Jerusalem - As Israel braces for an extreme unseasonal heatwave from Wednesday to Friday, several of the country’s authorities have appealed to residents to take precautionary measures.

The Health Ministry warned in a statement that low humidity and high winds are expected with temperatures predicted to soar above 40 degrees Celsius (above 100 degrees Fahrenheit) in most parts of the country. It said that several measures should be taken to avoid any health risks.

“The Ministry of Health calls upon the general public, the elderly population and chronically ill patients, to… avoid exposure to heat and sun as much as possible, avoid unnecessary physical exertion, make sure to drink water and stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible,” it advised.

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With the heatwave coinciding with Lag B’Omer, a celebratory Jewish holiday in which it is customary to light bonfires, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services also released a statement making it clear that lighting fires in parks, as well as areas prone to risk, is prohibited due to the heatwave.

“The lighting of bonfires will only be permissible in places designated for this purpose by the local authorities,” Israel Fire and Rescue Services said.The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority has also appealed to the public not to take walks or go on hikes in open areas from Wednesday to Friday as high temperatures grip the country. 

“In addition, in accordance with the instructions of the Firefighting Commission, the authority warned that it is forbidden to light fires while these conditions prevail at reserves and parks in Israel,” the authority said.

The last time Israel saw such unseasonably hot temperatures in May was in 2016 with Jerusalem hitting 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit) and Eilat 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit).

At the time, nearly 400 people were treated for heat-related illnesses and several brush fires were ignited in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, close to Modi’in and on Route 90.



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