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2015 was Israel’s third-hottest year on record

Galilee broke records with scorching August temperatures, while Merom Golan saw greatest freeze in 60 years

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Illustrative image of the sun setting over the Hebron mountains. (Nati Shohat/Flash90, file)
Illustrative image of the sun setting over the Hebron mountains. (Nati Shohat/Flash90, file)

The Israeli Meteorological Service (IMS) said 2015 was Israel’s third-hottest year on record.

August and September were among the steamiest months ever recorded, the Walla news site reported.

Still, 2015’s temperatures were significantly below those recorded during 2010 — the greatest scorcher since record-keeping began in 1920.

In May 2015, temperature readings hit 39-42° Celsius (102-105° Fahrenheit) in the coastal and Shfela regions, 43°C – 46°C (109°F – 114°F) in the Jordan Valley and the Arava desert, and 41°C – 43°C (105°F – 109°F) in the northern valleys.

August was the second-hottest on record, behind the same month in 2010. Early August saw temperatures hit 46°C (115°F) in Sdom on the shores of the Dead Sea, while the Galilee broke records with 49.3°C (121°F).

September also saw higher-than-average temperatures, with record levels of haze. While haze usually envelops parts of the country in winter or during the transitional period between seasons, 2015’s haze was unusual in that it came during the summer, lasted for four days and came from the Syrian desert.

The IMS said in a report published in March that temperatures have risen sharply over the past two decades.

Winter 2015 also had its noteworthy moments. January and February saw three major snowfalls. A low of −14.2°C (−6.4°F), recorded at the IMS station in Merom Golan on the Golan Heights in mid-January, broke a record of over 60 years.

In October, 246 millimeters (9.6 inches) of rain fell in Shefayim in central Israel, setting a new national record for that month. In November, more than 80 mm (3.5 inches) of rainfall within an hour caused flooding in Ashkelon, with another downpour in December bringing flood misery to the southern coastal city for a second time.

 

 

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