Israelis will experience unseasonably hot and dry temperatures while fasting this Yom Kippur, due to a high-altitude air ridge and an influx of northerly winds.

The weather changes will burden the country with considerable rises in heat, with the interior portions of Israel receiving the most scorching temperatures and an increased risk of fires, the Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) announced on Tuesday.

During the heat wave, the hottest days will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday – with temperatures climbing the highest on Friday, the eve of Yom Kippur.

In meteorological terms, a ridge is an elongated region characterized by high atmospheric pressure, whereas a trough is such an area with low atmospheric pressure.

At the hottest point of the heat wave – on Friday – temperatures in the Shfela region could climb to 34-35 degrees Celsius, in the Jerusalem and Beersheba areas to 35-36 degrees Celsius and in the Galilee and southern Golan Heights to 39-41 degrees Celsius, IMS data predicted.

Such a hot-weather event is rare on Yom Kippur, in part because the holiday usually falls in October or late September, the IMS explained. During the past 50 years, only in 1988 and in 2002 did the country experience such levels of heat over the holiday.

For the years 1995 to 2009, the average daily maximum temperature in mid-September was 31 degrees Celsius for the Shfela region and 28 degrees Celsius for the Jerusalem region, according to IMS data. During those years in mid-October, averages were 29 degrees Celsius and 26-27 degrees Celsius for the respective regions.

While the weather forecasts do indicate unusually hot temperatures, the IMS stressed that these are daytime maximum figures.

Because the nights are getting longer during this time of year and nighttime temperatures drop considerably, it will be more difficult for severe conditions to accumulate during the day now in comparison to the height of summertime, the IMS said.

The Health Ministry warned people of all ages to take care to protect their health.

The elderly, patients with chronic diseases, pregnant women and babies especially, but also others, should avoid exposure to sun and heat, not perform any unnecessary physical activity and frequently drink water (not including those fasting on Yom Kippur, except on doctor’s orders) and stay in airconditioned places as much as possible.

There is also a danger of forest fires.

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