Temperatures in Israel soared to their highest-ever level on Wednesday, the Israel Meteorological Service confirmed on Thursday.
The temperature in Sodom, in the Dead Sea area, reached almost 50 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, according to the Israel Meteorological Service.
During the day, fires broke out in several locations around the country.
A number of people sustained light injuries and about 200 houses were evacuated.
Even in the coastal plain along the Mediterranean, temperatures rose up to 42 degrees.
Humidity was unusually low for the time of year, ranging between 10 and 25 per cent in different parts of the country.
The peak heat of all time was recorded in June 1942, when 54 degrees were recorded in Tirat Zvi in the Beit She’an Valley, but that was before the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.
The Meteorological Service linked the record temperatures to global warming.
The service noted the fact that recent years had seen record-breaking temperatures indicated that global warming affects not only average temperatures but also extreme temperatures.
“Although it is difficult to attribute a single event to climate change, according to the best estimates global warming will continue and, therefore, we expect an increase in the number of extreme heatwaves and a higher probability of breaking additional temperature records,’’ it said in a statement. (dpa/NAN)