Israel’s heatwave continued into Saturday, with the coastal area sweating under unseasonably high levels of humidity, albeit with a slight drop in temperatures.
Some 230 people needed emergency medical assistance, 28 of them for dehydration, in the course of Friday and Saturday. Two people, both aged around 50, were taken to the hospital in serious condition with dehydration, Magen David Adom said. A soldier, Ariel Tzafrir, 19, died of head-related symptoms Friday after an outdoor nature party.
The Israel Meteorological Service said temperatures throughout the country were expected to taper off further in the coming days, but would remain above the seasonal average. Temperatures are forecast to again spike on Thursday, when they will reach the upper 30s Celsius in Jerusalem, and higher elsewhere.
The slight easing of the extreme weather came a day after Israel experienced on Friday its hottest recorded day ever — meaning in at least 100 years.
The southern coastal resort city of Eilat recorded an unprecedented 48.9°C (120°F) high, Channel 12 reported.
After Thursday saw Jerusalem record its highest ever temperature, Friday’s figures in the capital edged that one out, setting a new record of 42.8°C (109°F).
The current heatwave has been unprecedented for Jerusalem, which usually enjoys slightly cooler weather than the rest of the country thanks to its location and relatively high altitude at some 800 meters (2,600 feet) above sea level.
Extreme humidity was reported in coastal cities throughout the country while dry-spells were recorded in the Jordan Valley and other desert areas.
Emergency medics scrambled Friday to keep up with nearly 200 heat-related injuries nationwide.
In the day’s most serious incident, a 19-year-old youth died after collapsing at an outdoor rave at the Pura Nature Reserve in southern Israel, named on Saturday as Ariel Yoav Tzafrir from the West Bank settlement of Barkan.
His mother paid tribute to him in a Facebook post in which she lamented the loss of “our most precious treasure. You went to a party you never came back from.”
Tzafrir had been rushed to the Soroka Hospital in critical condition where doctors were forced to pronounce his death shortly thereafter. Alcohol and drugs were found in the young man’s system and medics believe the combination of those substances along with the extreme heat caused his death.
Magen David Adom medics treated 186 people across the country for heat-related injuries from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday. Fifty-six of those people had fainted, and 17 of them suffered dehydration.
Separately, thousands of residents from the towns of Pardesiya, Kfar Yona and the surrounding area in central Israel were left sweltering without air conditioning Friday afternoon after power outages were reported.