Israel has a Mediterranean climate characterized by long, hot,
dry summers and short, cool, rainy winters, as modified locally
by altitude and latitude. The climate is determined by Israel's
location between the subtropical aridity characteristic of Egypt
and the subtropical humidity of the Levant or eastern Mediterranean.
January is the coldest month, with temperatures from 5 C to 10
C, and August is the hottest month at 18 C to 38 C. About 70 percent
of the average rainfall in the country falls between November
and March; June through August are often rainless. Rainfall is
unevenly distributed, decreasing sharply as one moves southward.
In the extreme south, rainfall averages less than 100 millimeters
annually; in the north, average annual rainfall is 1,128 millimeters.
Rainfall varies from season to season and from year to year, particularly
in the Negev Desert. Precipitation is often concentrated in violent
storms, causing erosion and flooding. During January and February,
it may take the form of snow at the higher elevations of the central
highlands, including Jerusalem. The areas of the country most
cultivated are those that receive more than 300 millimeters of
rainfall annually; about one-third of the country is cultivable.
Data as of December 1988