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Heavy Heat in the Holy City

23 Aug 2015, 3:11 pm

Old City from the Mount of the Olives

A long-term summer heat wave has gripped the Middle East, and perhaps no city has felt it worse than the Holy City of Jerusalem, Israel, which has experienced several bouts of unseasonably hot temperatures.

Temperatures in the city have been above the daily average every day during the month of August through Sunday, according to official observations at Ben Gurion Airport, located about 25 miles northwest of central Jerusalem. Jerusalem averages temperatures in the mid-80s during the summer months, with August being its hottest month of the year on average. But Jerusalem has seen temperatures soar to 101° Fahrenheit this month, a full 16° above average.

The heat is being blamed for the death of an 18-year-old Israeli soldier earlier this month, who collapsed while touring Jerusalem’s Old City, according to Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva.

The nearby Negev desert in southern Israel has seen temperatures soar to as high as 48° Celsius, or 118° Fahrenheit. In Iran, a similar heat wave produced a reported 165° heat index in the city of Bandar Mahshahr last month, and much of the nearby Arabian Peninsula has been sweltering in unusually hot temperatures, even for the typically toasty region.

The heat has been caused by a massive ridge of high pressure that has extended into eastern Europe, where near 100-degree heat has lifted as far north as Bucharest, Romania and Minsk, Belarus, far above both cities’ respective seasonal averages.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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