An uncharacteristically extended heat wave is currently affecting the entire Middle East, with soaring temperatures throughout Israel leading to extended electricity blackouts.
The heat wave, which is now pushing into its second week and is expected to last until mid August, is causing record breaking heat throughout the region. Meteorologists have recorded temperatures as much as 49℃ (120℉) in the northern Kinneret region and 48℃ (118℉) in southern Eilat.
According to meteorological experts, the heat wave hitting the Middle East is being caused by a “heat dome.”
With Israelis being warned to stay indoors, electricity usage is up across the country, bringing Israel dangerously close to hitting its energy capacity. On Monday alone, Israelis used 12,800 MW of electricity, leaving only 800 MW in reserve, forcing Israel’s electric authority, the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), to cut power for several hours at a time in various areas of Israel.
Monday’s record high in terms of energy usage broke the previous record, set just one day before on Sunday, in which 12,525 MW were used.
Additionally, numerous reports of casualties due to the heat have already been reported, with the most serious incident being a baby who was admitted to Zeif Hospital in Safed in serious condition after dehydrating and suffering from heat stroke.
At the time of her being admitted, the baby’s body temperature reached 42℃ (107.6℉). The baby was on a family vacation in the north of the country and was immediately treated for heat stroke.
The current heat wave has also dealt a serious blow to Israeli crops. Over 250 reports of serious agricultural damage were received in Israel in just one day by KANAT, the Insurance Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture, with more expected to come pouring in as the “heat dome” continues.
The heat has already caused millions of shekels in damage to crops and livestock. With temperatures over 40℃ (104℉) , livestock such as turkeys and chickens have begun to die and open field crops such as melons, apples and nectarines are being ruined.
According to KANAT, most of the summer fruits have already been harvested, thanks in part to the sabbatical year being in full swing. The early harvest and lessening of the planting helped prevent further catastrophe in Israel.
The “heat dome” which is currently passing its way over the region has exacerbated energy and water supplies in most countries, causing the heat to become even more unbearable. Countries have been trying to deal effectively with the heat, to varying degrees of success.
The Iranian government asked for people to stay inside and avoid exposure to the sun, while the government of Iraq called a national four day holiday so that citizens could stay at home and not have to head out in the heat. Amman, the capital city of Jordan, suffered a crippling sandstorm on top of the heat, causing near blackout conditions, and forcing flights to reroute to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. Flights from other Arab countries that could not land in Israel were rerouted to Aqaba.
In an episode that could easily come out of the Bible, the same week that Iran threatened to annihilate Israel, it experienced near record breaking temperatures, suffering from some of the hottest “feels like” temperatures ever experienced. The heat index on Friday in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, an urban city with a population over 100,000, hit an incredible 73℃ (164℉).