Israel is currently grappling with a severe heatwave, and experts are raising concerns about the dire consequences it may bring. As temperatures soared beyond 40°C in various regions on Saturday, the Meteorological Service warned that the situation could worsen on Sunday.
Meteorological Service Warns Of Escalation
The blistering summer sun has left Israelis sweltering, and the Meteorological Service issued a cautionary statement on its website, predicting an intensification of the heat. The service outlined that temperatures would surge to alarming levels, characterized by extreme dryness, particularly in inland and mountainous regions, with coastal regions experiencing muggy conditions.
It also predicts that there would be heavy to extreme heat stress across most parts of the country. Though a glimmer of hope appeared on the horizon, as the service suggested isolated light rainfall in the east and south might offer some respite from the scorching temperatures.
However, this did not alleviate the concern surrounding the risk of wildfires. Meanwhile, the Nature and Parks Authority has taken preventive measures, imposing a ban on fires in nature reserves and national parks due to the heightened threat of wildfires.
This recent heatwave follows nearly three consecutive weeks of extreme heat that Israel experienced in July. Shani Rohatyn-Blitz, the coordinator of the KKL-JNF Forestry Division, further stated that there had been an alarming frequency of new heat levels recorded worldwide.
This reality underscores the realization of model predictions concerning the increasing occurrence of extreme climate events globally. While Israel has not established new peak temperature records, the World Meteorological Organization shared a disturbing global trend.
The organization stated that the average temperature for July 2023 is the highest ever recorded for any month, surpassing the previous records set in 1991-2020 and 2019. Compared to the average temperature between 1850 and 1900, the temperature for the month was remarkably 1.5°C higher.
Heat-Related Fatalities Globally And Experts’ Recommendations
These heatwaves manifest as devastating wildfires in other regions, notably Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, and Maui. These heightened temperatures have also led to other disasters, such as the collapse of a two-story house in Juneau, Alaska, due to severe floods triggered by glacier melting.
The Barcelona Institute for Global Health also shared a report detailing several heat-related fatalities in Europe last summer. The report stated that 61,672 individuals lost their lives, and projections indicate that Europe may face an average of 120,000 untimely deaths each summer until 2050 if current temperature trends persist.
Meanwhile, Dr. Joy Shumake-Guillemot of the World Meteorological Organization shed light on the physiological response to excessive heat exposure. She explained that the body’s natural cooling mechanisms may falter, leading to symptoms of heat exhaustion, which may escalate to heatstroke.
Even seemingly healthy individuals, including young people, are not immune to the risks posed by these elevated temperatures. Hence, outdoor workers, festival attendees, and exercise enthusiasts must remain vigilant.
While seeking shelter indoors is often recommended, it’s important to note that indoor temperatures can sometimes surpass outdoor conditions. Shaded outdoor areas provide a safer refuge during extreme heat periods.