Indian summer to continue

While most of Europe has been shivering in the grip of an early winter cold spell, Israelis have been enjoying an Indian summer with hot, dry weather and higher-than-average temperatures for this time of year. The Israel Meteorological Service (IMS) reported that Monday was the hottest day so far with temperatures reaching 28 degrees in Jerusalem, 30 in Haifa and 29 in Tel Aviv and as high as 34 in Kiryat Malachi and parts of the northern Negev and 32 in Eilat. Nurit Feldheim, IMS duty forecaster at the Beit Dagan weather bureau, said the temperatures were between seven to 10 degrees above average for this time of the year. "This in itself is unusual and even more so when coupled with the fact that the hot and dry spell has been with us for almost a week and is slated to continue at least for the next few days." She said a slight drop in temperatures was expected on Tuesday and Wednesday but that it would still be hotter than usual for this time of year through the weekend and that there was no sign of rain on the horizon. Weather experts said that it was a normal phenomenon that when it was cold and wet in Europe, the weather was hotter and drier than average in this part of the world. Feldheim said one of the other characteristics of the recent hot spell was the low level of humidity. "Humidity has been around 15 percent in inland areas and only 30% or less along the coast where it is normally 60% to 70%. We expect a slight rise in humidity from Wednesday but it will still be hotter and drier than usual for this time of year," she said. The IMS recently issued its forecast for the main winter months of December, January and February. According to the forecast, based on recent atmospheric assessments and historical meteorological statistics, rainfall in the coming winter is slated to be below average. The forecast has a 70% accuracy rating.