40,000 lightning bolts strike Italy in a day

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Lightning struck St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican in February. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
15:55 CEST+02:00
Summer came to an electric end in Italy on Tuesday as 40,000 lightning strikes rained down on the country, an expert told The Local.

The stormy weather also brought deafening thunder and heavy rain, causing power cuts and the closure of part of Rome’s metro.

“Yesterday there were around 40,000 lightning strikes and 950,000 so far this year,” Marina Bernardi, spokeswoman for the organization which charts lightning strikes in Italy (SIRF), told The Local.

With four months of the year still to go, Italy is already well ahead of the average 1.5 million strikes it experiences annually.

Although yesterday’s bad weather kept many Italians indoors, it is still a far cry from the 100,000 bolts which shot down on September 16th 2004 - the heaviest lightning shower since 1995.

The treacherous weather has already proved deadly this summer. In July, a 12-year-old boy died after being struck by lightning while playing football on the beach. 

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An ominous sign was also recorded in February, when a lightning bolt struck St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican just hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. 

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