The Heat Is Online

Mideast heat wave -- Aug., 1998

"Heat wave hits Middle East", UPI, Aug. 10, 1998


TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 10 (UPI) - A heat wave approaching records set almost 110 years ago is scorching the Middle East, claiming the lives of dozens of people and sending many scurrying to buy air conditioners.

Temperatures in Jordan's capital of Amman have averaged 104 degrees (40 degrees Celsius), seven degrees more than the average temperature. In the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh the mercury reached 113 (45 Celsius) _ a ``cool'' day compared with other days in the Persian Gulf area where temperatures hit 122 (50 Celsius).

The place to be today was Egypt's Mediterranean coast, where it was only 98 degrees (31 Celsius).

Thirteen people reportedly died in Cyprus today because of the heat, bringing the death toll this summer on the island to 48. Seventy one people reportedly died in Turkey in the past month, some having fallen off roofs they had climbed onto to escape the heat. Israelis flocked to air conditioned shopping malls, and the sale of air conditioners increased, according to the Maariv newspaper, but technicians can't install them fast enough.

Farmers have been giving their cows showers, but milk production has dropped nonetheless. Hundreds of thousands of chickens have died, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry's spokesman told UPI.

Hundreds of people have placed containers with water in the streets for dogs and cats, the Ha'aretz newspaper reported.

The Israeli army has cut down on training. Officers were told to provide 7 liters of water a day for every soldier expected to be engaged in non-strenuous outdoor activity. Israeli authorities advised outdoor workers to take hourly breaks.

Air-conditioned rooms were sought after today, but the hospital in Safad in northern Israel lacks it. The most welcome guests were therefore not those who showed up with chocolates and flowers, but those who came with fans.

(Sana Abdallah in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report)

Copyright 1998 by United Press International.

Earthweek: 8/17/98 :

With temperatures averaging 102 for much of June, July and August, Bahrain recorded the hottest summer on record since weather records first began being kept in 1902.