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Sweltering heat drives electricity demands to annual high

Paramedics treat 367 people in two days as sizzling temperatures climb past 40 degrees Celsius (104°F)

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israelis and tourists enjoy the beach in Tel Aviv, on a hot summer day, July 3, 2017. A new survey finds that they are optimistic and largely satisfied with their lives. (Miriam Alster/ FLASH90)
Israelis and tourists enjoy the beach in Tel Aviv, on a hot summer day, July 3, 2017. A new survey finds that they are optimistic and largely satisfied with their lives. (Miriam Alster/ FLASH90)

Israelis trying to stay cool Monday during the second day of a sweltering heat wave drove electricity demands to a record high for the year, smashing the previous maximum that was set just the day before.

With temperatures in some areas breaking the 40 degree Celsius (104°F) mark, the country’s electricity demands peaked at 12,708 megawatts, Channel 2 reported.

On Sunday, demand had reached 12,438 megawatts, short of the all-time record in demand set on September 9, 2015, when the Israel Electric Corporation needed 12,907 megawatts to meet the country’s needs. In 2016, the maximum demand was 12,202 megawatts.

Magen David Adom emergency services reported that, since Sunday, its medics have treated 367 people due to the heat. Over the last two days, some 161 people fainted, 28 suffered dehydration, and 178 felt weak or dizzy in the soaring temperatures.

During the day, the temperature in Tel Aviv reached 32°C (89.6°F), while in Jerusalem the heat touched 38°C (100.4°F). In the southern city of Beersheba, thermometers recorded 41°C (105.8°F), in Ein Gedi 40°C (104°F), and in the Jordan Valley a broiling 43°C (109.4°F). The southern resort city of Eilat also saw temperatures break the 40°C mark.

The lower temperatures of the coastal regions were accompanied by high humidity, ensuring that they suffered too.

Although temperatures are expected to drop a little on Tuesday, the heat wave is not likely to break until Thursday.

The Education Ministry, which operates various children’s programs throughout summer vacation, issued special instructions due to the heat, notifying families that hikes will only be held in areas it has okayed, and only after receiving approval from the ministry situations room on the morning of the hike, Channel 2 reported. Other activities organized by the ministry will only be held in shaded areas, or under trees and close to a water source and air-conditioned facilities.

MDA issued a plea for parents to take particular care that they not accidentally leave children behind in cars, circumstances that have led to a number of deaths in the past.

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