Thousands flock to Tel Aviv beaches during April 22 heat wave. .
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Unseasonably high temperatures drove Israelis this weekend out of their homes and to some of the country's renowned seaside resorts and beaches.
The heat wave, which usually hits only around May, was felt as early as Thursday evening and reached its peak this Saturday, with temperatures in the country's south climbing up to 40° C and 35° C in Tel Aviv.
Beaches across the country are reported to be packed with Israelis and tourists, as thousands chose to cool off and make the most of the surprising climate change.
Some 12,000 people are reported to have basked in the Middle Eastern sun at the beaches surrounding Lake Kinneret in the north, despite the fact that bathing season only starts officially next Thursday.
Other popular sites this weekend were kayaking centers along the Jordan River and several hiking trails in the north.
However, weather reports foresee a return to normal temperatures later on Saturday evening, and a significant decline in temperatures on Sunday and Monday. The temperatures are expected to rise again on Tuesday, with a possible heat wave felt again next Wednesday.