This winter's heaviest rainstorm yet is battering Israel, with heavy rains predicted to continue drenching the country's north and center later Thursday while the coast remains at risk of flooding.
Fifty children and two teachers were rescued by dinghy after a kindergarten complex flooded in the central Israeli city of Rehovot on Thursday.
Sandstorms may hit the south and a number of hiking trails in streams in the south and the Judean Desert have been closed to visitors, including Og, Darga and Kelt, along with several rappelling sites in the region.
On Wednesday, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced a complete ban on entering streambeds anywhere in the country, whether on foot or in a vehicle, because of fears of flash floods.
Between 10 to 20 millimeters of rain fell by Thursday morning in the north. Strong winds, reaching up to 90 kilometers per hour, are expected. Temperatures will drop by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, accompanied by thunderstorms.
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The heavy rain will continue on Friday, mostly in the north and center of the country, and temperatures will fall further. Flooding will still be likely along the coast and in streams in the south and east. Sandstorms are possible in the south again on Friday, with a chance of the first snow of the year on Mount Hermon.
The rain will taper off on Saturday. About 50 to 100 millimeters of rain are forecast for the next few days, and possibly even more in some areas.