The cloud of dust that has hovered over Israel for the past two days will scatter in the late afternoon Thursday as heavy rains begin to fall across the country.
Light drizzling began in several regions overnight with rain to continue in southern Israel throughout the morning moving up to the center in the early hours of the afternoon.
The rain is expected to fall mainly along the coast, accompanied by thunderstorms, heavy winds and possible flooding.
As of Thursday morning, air pollution levels in Beit Shemesh were 12 times higher than normal; in Jerusalem, 10 times; Arad, 11 times; and in Ariel, Be'er Sheva, and Tel Aviv 7-8 times higher than normal.
There are, however, clear skies over Afula in northern Israel and the air pollution has faded to normal.
Temperatures will continue to decrease at the end of the week: Friday will be partly cloudy and windy, especially along the coast, while rains will pick up again Saturday. The rains will intensify on Sunday evening and continue into Monday.
Heavy winds carried in the dust storm overnight Tuesday/Wednesday, bringing air pollution levels to 15-25 times the normal level and raising safety concerns.
Meteorologists reported that the dust storm was brought by winds as high as 60 kph (37 mph) from Jordan and Saudi Arabia – bringing with it sand, and therefore, air pollution.
Flights out of Ben Gurion International Airport were temporarily halted Wednesday afternoon, hours after the Israel Airports Authority shuttered both Tel Aviv's Sde Dov airport and Ovda airport in Eilat.
Magen David Adom saw an increased number of people seeking medical attention due to the severe weather. The group reported treating over 300 people on Wednesday.