February has so far been unseasonably warm, as it was last year, and the lack of significant rainfall has farmers praying for a little help from above.

Several areas have seen less than half the rain they were expected to receive during the three primary winter months, of which February is the last.

After receiving urgent pleas from farmers, the Chief Rabbinate recently called on the public to pray for the resumption of rain and even to attempt fasting in that effort.

The warm weather is expected to continue through Thursday, with a significant drop in temperatures to arrive only this weekend.

Wednesday temperatures reached 23-24 degrees Celsius along the coastal plain, and Thursday will be warmer by one or two degrees. Israel is currently being influenced by the arid regions surrounding it more than by rainfall in Europe. The toasty conditions of recent days is due to warm air passing through the country from Egypt's Nile Delta.

There have, however, been warmer Februaries in the past. In 1941, the thermometer in February in Jerusalem rose to 29.9 degrees, and in Tel Aviv in 1958, to 33 degrees. The highest temperature yet recorded in February was measured at the Beit Jamal station near Beit Shemesh, which in 1941 recorded a temperature of 34 degrees.