The year 2010 was the hottest by a large margin since records began being kept in Israel, with temperatures two to three degrees hotter than the average, according to the Israel Meteorological Service’s year-end summary.What’s more, temperatures were one to one-and-a-half degrees Celsius higher than the next hottest year, a striking statistic, according to the IMS. Most years, the average temperatures fall within 0.1- .0.3 degrees of other years.For example, the average temperature for Jerusalem between 1981 and 2000 was 17.5 degrees. In 2010, the average temperature was 20.3 and during the next hottest year, 1998, it was 18.7.Similarly, the average in Beit Dagan, where the IMS is based, is 19.4 degrees. In 2010, the average was 22.1 degrees and the next hottest year was 20.9 degrees.Every month of the year was hotter than average, the IMS said.The IMS continually tracks and predicts the weather using a series of monitoring stations around the country.While higher temperatures and decreased precipitation are among the predictions of climatologists for the next century, it would be hard to prove that a single year was the result of climate change.Climatologists are looking for trends in 30 year periods over hundreds of years.The IMS also tracks rainfall, and while this past year was one of the driest, there have been drier years.However, 2010 was unique in that it had the least amount of days of rain at many of the monitoring stations. For example, in Jerusalem and Haifa, the fewest number of rain days were recorded in the past 80 years.The hydrological year is usually calculated based on the rainy months – meaning the year is comprised of part of 2010 and 2011, but the IMS conducted its calculations based on 2010 alone.The lack of rain has drawn Israel into a deeply critical water situation, necessitating an emergency plan which is set to be presented to the cabinet in the coming weeks.The year started out with the hottest January in 60 years, broken only by the hardest thunderstorm the Negev has seen since February 1975. While the storm hit the entire country, it was particularly severe in the Negev.The rest of the year was marked by scarce rainfall, which culminated in basically no rainfall at all during the entire month of November.In the past 70 years, only 1946 and 1962 had a similarly rainless November.However, there were 10 days of rain in late June – the most in June since 1994.Temperature-wise, days in August reached record highs.In Har Canaan, a record 40.6 degrees for August was reached. Beersheba topped that with 43.8 degrees.And of course, the year ended with Israel’s largest forest fire, as the hot and dry weather of November continued into the beginning of December.A week later, a very severe storm and the only significant rain of the hydrological year 2010/11 so far occurred.Winds of up to 120 kph wreaked havoc while the North and the coast saw significant amounts of rain.