Haifa finds itself underwater, weeks after wildfires set it ablaze
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Haifa finds itself underwater, weeks after wildfires set it ablaze

Streets, highways flooded and strong winds lash northern Israeli city as winter makes itself felt

Police examine the vehicle that was stuck in a flood earlier today in a tunnel in Haifa, where a 74-year-old man was trapped and died, on December 13, 2016. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Police examine the vehicle that was stuck in a flood earlier today in a tunnel in Haifa, where a 74-year-old man was trapped and died, on December 13, 2016. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Roads in the northern city of Haifa were closed to traffic on Tuesday evening as strong rains battered the city, flooding the coastal areas.

Underpasses on the Halutzei Hata’asiya Street were closed, after a man died Tuesday morning after the car he was driving became stuck in a flooded underpass.

Streets around the Haifa port were also set to be closed overnight, as rain continued to pour across the country.

The wintry snap began Monday, dumping rain in the north and causing at least one fatality. The stormy weather was expected to persist into the weekend, with rain nationwide and snow expected in the Golan Heights. The levels of the Sea of Galilee — Israel’s main water source — rose by two centimeters.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Haifa truck driver, 74, was taken in critical condition to Rambam Medical Center, where paramedics and doctors, unable to resuscitate him, declared him dead of hypothermia. Municipal workers had been called to help police close off Halutzei Hata’asiya Street in the northern port city after an underpass in the road became flooded with rain water.

The workers noticed a car caught in a pool in the underpass and after investigating further found the driver lying unconscious on the back seat. The man had apparently moved to the back of the vehicle to escape the rising water after his car became stuck, Channel 2 reported.

Earlier in the day a woman was seriously injured and another nine lightly injured on Route 90 in a three-car pile-up blamed on fog.

The wet weather came after an unseasonable dry spell during which a series of devastating brush fires destroyed hundreds of homes and thousands of acres of forest last month.

Most of the homes destroyed by fire were in Haifa, where firefighters battled for days to bring the blazes under control.

Firefighters work in a home in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, November 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Firefighters work in a home in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, November 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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