Israelis began flocking to their air-conditioned homes and shopping centers on Wednesday as an intense heat wave blanketed the country.
Temperatures in southern Israel reached as high as 38.5 Celsius (101 Fahrenheit) and were barely a degree or two lower around other areas of the country.
The mercury is expected to skyrocket even higher by Friday, with temperatures reaching 46 C (114 F) in the Jordan Valley and 35 C (95 F) in the mountains. People on the coast will not suffer as badly – those temperatures are not expected to be higher than 33 C (91 F).
In response to the dangerous weather, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority announced a complete ban on all fires, from Wednesday through Sunday, in nature reserves and national parks due to the high risk of igniting a wildfire.
In Europe, It Has a Name
The heat wave has also struck Europe. Meet “Heatwave Cerberus” the deadly weather front that is scorching the continent. The blast is named after the guardian of the underworld in Dante’s Inferno, and for good reason.
A 44-year-old sign worker has already died in Italy due to this fierce weather, as Europeans brace themselves to survive temperatures that could soar as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) later this week.
The victim collapsed and later died in a hospital due to the heat in the city of Lodi, as the temperature rose above 40 C (104 F).
Temperatures were expected to climb to 44 C (111 F) in southern Spain, and as high as 45 C in Sicily and Sardinia.
The mercury hit 44 C. in Greece, 41 C in Cyprus and 39 C in Croatia.
The weather in Europe is particularly dangerous during a heat wave because many people do not have air conditioning.
Health officials are urging people to stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible, particularly during the hottest hours of the day.
Shopping malls, air-conditioned restaurants and cafes, libraries, hotels, and private homes are all good choices.
One can improve the air-conditioning at home by adding a fan. Close the blinds to block the sunlight, which can heat up a room.
Consider taking a cool shower and wear light-colored, lightweight clothing.
Refrain from physical activity (for example, hiking or jogging) until the evening hours, when the air cools off a bit.
If you must go out, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen – and make sure to take a filled water bottle wherever you go.
Double-check the back seat before leaving your car to make sure no one – human or four-legged — is being left behind. Cars become real infernos within a short time in this kind of weather. Stay safe.