Extreme heat, such as what we witnessed this week, is a regular occurrence in Israel during the summer months and can be dangerous. Travelers should pay close attention to information provided by local authorities, such as the Israel Ministry of Health and Magen David Adom, particularly when visiting the Dead Sea, the Negev desert, and Masada. Israeli authorities routinely take steps to ensure the safety of travelers in hot weather, which can include restricting access to popular sites where temperatures can reach extreme levels during the day.
Please review information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health web page on Travel to Hot Climates. Travelers should take all necessary precautions to prepare for hot weather, to include making alternate travel plans in case authorities determine a site to be unsafe due to heat.
Traveling in hot climates can make you sick, especially if you are not accustomed to the heat. People at highest risk are the elderly, young children, and people with chronic illnesses, but even young and healthy people can get sick from heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
When you are not in an air-conditioned building, take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths when traveling in hot climates:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
- Try to schedule outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.
- Rest often, and try to stay in the shade when outdoors.
- If you will be doing strenuous activities in the heat, try to get adjusted before you leave by exercising one hour per day in the heat.
Overheating can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms include excessive thirst, profuse sweating, headache, dizziness or confusion, and nausea. If you or anyone you are traveling with develops these symptoms, get out of the sun and try to cool off by fanning or getting in the water. Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency; get medical attention if symptoms persist.
If your plans include outdoor activities:
- Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
- Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat and drink regularly, wear loose and lightweight clothing, and limit physical activity in the heat of the day. If you are outside for many hours in the heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
- Protect yourself from UV radiation: Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
- Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
- Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
- Individuals with chronic medical conditions need to consider how the weather will affect their travel plans.
- Travel with a buddy. Avoid engaging in strenuous activity while alone.
- Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
WEATHER IN ISRAEL
SUMMER (June – early September)
Israel temperatures are usually in the high 80’s (27C) and 90’s (32C). Tel Aviv and areas around the Sea of Galilee are hot and humid. Jerusalem is dryer and cooler, particularly at night. Masada and Eilat are extremely hot, with temperatures occasionally exceeding 110F (43C), but dry. Rain is rare.
SPRING (late March – May) and AUTUMN (late September – November)
Daytime Israel temperatures are very pleasant; around 60-70F (15-25C) degrees in most of the country (still hot, though, around the Red Sea and Dead Sea). Jerusalem is normally 40-50F (5-10C) in the evening. There is some rainfall – nothing torrential.
WINTER (December – early March)
Israel’s winter weather fluctuates. Some winters are mild and sunny, while some are severe and overcast. There is often heavy rain. In January and February, parts of the country may even see snow. Temperatures hover in the 50-60F (10-15C) range in most places, but in Jerusalem and the Galilee hills temperatures can be in the 40’s (5C) during the day, and very cold at night.
For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health page for Israel. Please review the warning signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. To obtain CDC travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas or visit the CDC website.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Israeli, the West Bank, and Gaza enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor current warning messages and travel tips. Individuals can also acquire security information at U.S. Embassy’s Tel Aviv’s home page and Facebook and Twitter accounts; U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem’s home page and Facebook and Twitter accounts; and the Department of State’s travel website, and Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the document “Traveler’s Checklist.”
Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is located at 71 Hayarkon in Tel Aviv and is open 8 to 11 a.m., (972)(3)519-7575 and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is located at 18 Agron Road in Jerusalem and is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (972)(2)630-4000. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv is (972)(3)519-7551 and U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem is (972) (2) 622-7250. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).