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Frequent heatwaves spark concern

By Hana Namrouqa - Aug 13,2017 - Last updated at Aug 13,2017

AMMAN — “Amman weather has never been this hot,” said septuagenarian Abu Ibrahim as he sat on a bench in his front yard.

“The weather is changing in Amman. We surely had hotter days, but never for this long,” the retired serviceman said.

His brother, Abu Ahmad, agreed. “Back in the older days, every season was less extreme. But, as the years pass, the weather is really changing; summer days are much hotter,” Abu Ahmad, who runs a convenience store, said.

Since July, the weather has been “really hot”, and it seems like heatwaves are going to be the trend for this summer, he added.

At an electronics shop near the Sports City centre, Rana Yousef, a mother of three boys, stands contemplating the different brands of air conditioners.

“I am here to buy the second air conditioning unit for my house. This summer is so hot, it is not like any other year; hot days are constant,” Yousef   told The Jordan Times.

Raed Rafed, a meteorologist at the Jordan Meteorological Department (JMD), said that the country has been affected by multiple hot spells since the start of summer, confirming that July this year was hotter compared to the previous year.

“The reason why July is hotter this year is because the seasonal Indian thermal depressions, whose expansions affect the country during summer, have been stronger this year and much more active,” Rafed told The Jordan Times.

The meteorologist underscored though that it is not “abnormal” for the country to witness such prolonged hot days, noting that the current temperatures are around the average of 33°C.

President of the Jordan Valley Farmers Union, Adnan Khaddam, said that prolonged hot days over this summer have negatively affected vegetable production.

“The flaming temperatures in the Jordan Valley during July, when the country was affected by more than one heatwave, damaged crop yields and the plants as well,” Khaddam said.

He underscored that authorities have been “very cooperative this summer with farmers with regards to irrigation water supply”, noting that the hot weather has also caused agricultural workers’ wages to increase.

“The workers are unable to work in the scorching sun this year, so they have to work between 6:00pm and 9:00am and their employers are paying them almost double,” Khaddam said.

Ministry of Water and Irrigation’s figures indicated that the country’s dams now hold some 120 million cubic metres (mcm) of their total capacity of 345 mcm.

 

The ministry’s most recent figures also showed that the dams hold 40mcm less than in the same period last year.

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