Extreme weather conditions continued to sweep across Israel on Wednesday, causing havoc throughout the country.

Following snowstorms in the Golan Heights, the Galilee and Hebron the previous night, on Wednesday morning snow fell in the Negev desert and later reached the central hills and Jerusalem.

Due to the snowy conditions in southern Israel, Route 40 was blocked between Sde Boker and the Nifta prison, Route 31 was blocked between Mishmar Hanegev and Lehavim and Route 204 was blocked between Yeroham and Sde Boker.

Also in the South, hundreds of Beduins were injured when several tents collapsed near the Lehavim Junction due to the stormy weather.

Meanwhile, one person was killed and three others injured in a car accident on the Coastal Highway, when a bus collided with a car on the section of the road between Fureidis and Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael.

The casualties were evacuated to Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera.

In other incidents, a man was swept away in his car by floods near Beit Zayit and, in Acre, a eucalyptus tree fell on an elderly woman who was evacuated to hospital with light injuries.

In Tel Aviv ten vehicles were damaged from falling trees and 22 houses were flooded, mainly in the southern part of the city.

The Israel Metrological Service (IMS) reported that Beit Dagan saw a record of over 50 mm. of rainfall Tuesday night and Jerusalem saw 30 mm. of rainfall.

Strong winds also swept through the country Tuesday night, reaching 70 kilometers per hour. The sea was stormy, with waves reaching three meters and expected to reach five meters on Wednesday.

In one of the most dramatic rescues of the day, police officers ferried a woman about to give birth to safety, after the tent in which she lived collapsed in a Beduin encampment between Rahat and Lehavim. MDA teams were scrambled after receiving a report that members of a family from the Al-Marni Beduin jhad been injured when their tent collapsed as a result of wind and rain. MDA ambulances were called to the scene, but the difficult road conditions prevented them from reaching the stricken family.

Instead, said assistant subdistrict commander Asst.-Cmdr. Peretz Amar, police vehicles brought the woman and three children to the main road where they were met by the MDA ambulances.

After the rescue, police feared that the worsening weather conditions would cause more tents in the encampment to collapse and decided to evacuate 110 other residents of the encampment to a sturdier building for the duration of the storm. With assistance from the Fire Department and the Rahat Local Council, the residents were all taken to the Abu Sineh School in Rahat until the stormy weather passes.

In Nahariya, rescue teams had to extricate a woman who was trapped under a tree that fell as a result of gusting winds and wet ground and on Rehov Abba Eban in Herzliya, a one of the eastbound lanes collapsed on the stretch of the road between Rehov Windgate and Rehov Yehoshua Ben Nun. No injuries were reported as a result of the collapse, which police blamed on the weatherconditions.

Major roadways throughout the country were closed in places due to flash floods in lowlying areas and snowfall in higher areas, as motorists tried to make their way home while conditions worsened throughout the day.

The wintry weather had already taken its toll on houses in southern Tel Aviv, which were flooded Tuesday, and local authorities and hospitals will be on standby throughout the day.

Although schools remained open, information on possible closures is available by calling 1-212-222-666.

While snow, ice and floods carry their downside, the sudden heavy rainfall was "excellent" for the country, said Uri Shore, spokesman for Israel's Water Commission, "but it might not be enough."

"Underground water reserves, the source of two-thirds of Israel's water supply, are 1.8 meters below last year's levels," Shore said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. He said Israel needed this rain "badly," after parts of the country had gone 38 days without it.

The Kinneret, which Shore said was about 47 cm. lower than it was this time last year, saw 20 mm. of rain Tuesday night, according to the IMS.

Neither Dan nor Egged bus services are expecting any service interruptions. Customers can reach Egged at (03) 694-8888 or *2800, and Dan at (03) 639-4444 for the latest updates, or simply 144 for local information.

As the Post reported Tuesday, municipal authorities in Jerusalem are readying a fleet of snowplows and the municipality's emergency hot line, 106, will be beefed up.

Magen David Adom has ambulances and 4x4 vehicles on standby across the country in advance of the snowfall to ensure a quick response to emergency calls.

In light of the expected freeze, the Jerusalem Municipality rented hotel rooms for the city's homeless to at least give them a roof over their heads.

The IMS Web site cautions that low areas in the Negev should beware of flooding on Wednesday, but Batz disagreed: "If we were looking at 100 mm., there would be a serious risk. But the earth is very dry right now, so I don't think there is much risk of floods. This rain is very good for the South, considering how dry the season has been so far."

Residents in Haifa, on the other hand, should be prepared to face flooding. Local authorities met there on Tuesday morning in a collaborative effort to prepare the city for the three-and-a-half meter waves, 60 km. per hour winds and 35 mm. of rainfall they expect from Tuesday to Wednesday night.

In particular, they are ready for evacuations in case of flooding, and the removal of hazardous objects, such as trees and traffic lights, that might be blown onto the roads by wind.

In Mitzpe Ramon, residents should be cautious while driving if temperatures fall below freezing. About 10 mm. of rain are expected, and if forecasters are right, residents will wake up to icy roads Wednesday and Thursday morning.

In addition, Magen David Adom urged care with heaters. Those using gas and kerosene heaters producing carbon monoxide must ventilate rooms. CO is poisonous but has no color or scent. Signs of CO poisoning include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tiredness and weakness. If such symptoms appear in people exposed to gas or kerosene heating, call MDA at 101. Keep the bodies of infants, old people and patients confined to their beds warm and snug, using layers of light clothing that allow movement. If a person is unusually sleepy, confused and has no appetite for food or drink, call MDA.