As summertime temperatures continued to heat the country throughout the Passover holiday, domestic tourism boomed on Wednesday with tens of thousands of Israelis visiting the nation's open spaces and national parks.

Some 170,000 tourists visited state nature reserves and parks, the Israel Nature and Parks Services (INPA) announced.

At least 40,000 of those tourists visited state parks, while the rest took advantage of Israel's varied open spaces to enjoy their holiday outdoors.

As of 12:30 p.m., 2,600 tourists dipped into the watering holes at Banias, 2,000 trekked along the Meshushim Stream and 2,000 each toured the epic Massada mesa and seaside ruins at Caesarea, the INPA said.

To accommodate the heavy flow of visitors, the parks authority announced that it had extended its hours of operation at sites throughout the country for the intermediate days of Passover.

Those taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather at the start of the week should note the steep drop in temperatures expected by Wednesday, with most areas of the country expected to feel at least a 10 degree decrease. Scattered showers and possible thunderstorms are expected throughout the country, save the near-perennially arid Eilat and Arava region, on Wednesday and Thursday.

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