Wildfires as Israeli weather hits record

The weather has been warmest in Eilat

The weather has been warmest in Eilat

Wildfires have flared up around central Israel as temperatures in the country reached more than 40 degrees Celsius – in the shade.

Firefighters have been called to blazes near Jerusalem and other wooded areas, while sun worshippers in Eilat have enjoyed Israel’s warmest weather in three years, with temperatures there climbing to a record 46 degrees.

The heatwave has also caused electricity consumption to shoot up, and a Beersheva pensioner has been found unconscious from heatstroke.

The unseasonably sunny weather is said to be because of an air mass from Egypt and Libya.

Nahum Malik of the Meteotech weather service said the temperature was uncommon for June.

But Israelis can be glad of improvements in air -conditioning systems since the record for a heatwave was set in the 1940s. In June 1942, temperatures reached 54 degrees in the Jordan Valley.

Last updated: 4:40pm, June 22 2010