Runner killed by lightning bolt as storms batter Italy

A 42-year-old runner was killed on Sunday after being struck by lightning during a mountain race in Gemona del Friuli, in the northern Italian province of Udine.

Runner killed by lightning bolt as storms batter Italy
The runner was killed by a lightning strike in Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia region on Sunday. Photo: John Fowler/Flickr

Mario Pantanali, from Vicenza, was taking part in the Trail Dei Tre Castelli event when he was hit by a lightning bolt while running along a 1,100 metre-high track, close to Mount Cuarnan in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.

Concerns were raised after he failed to make it to the finishing line. A mountain search team was dispatched and his body was found a few hours later with severe burns to his chest and a leg.

Pantanali had been running along a 32km route that took him through a densely wooded path.

The organizers of the race wrote on Facebook on Monday morning: “At this time our only thoughts and words are for Mario and his family.”

The accident came as violent storms swept through much of Italy over the weekend, brought on by cyclone Poppea.

Red and higher orange weather alert warnings were issued for most of Italy’s northern regions, while warnings were also issued in Lazio, Molise and Sicily.

The low air pressure brought by the cyclone saw temperatures plummet by up to ten degrees Celsius nationwide.

Strong winds and heavy rain are forecast to hit the north again on Thursday, before sunshine and warmer temperatures return in time for the weekend, according to

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Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

Temperatures are set to rise dramatically across Italy this weekend as the country prepares for its first real heatwave of the year, meteorologists said on Friday.

Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

People across Italy are preparing to head to the beach this weekend with unseasonably hot weather predicted to last for several days.

The heatwave is caused by an anticyclone named  ‘Hannibal’ sweeping in from Tunisia and Algeria, bringing hot air currents across the Mediterranean and as far north as Denmark and Poland, reports news agency Ansa.

Temperatures are forecast to rise above 32-33°C in parts of the Italian north including Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, and Emilia Romagna, before the heatwave expands towards the centre and south of the country over the course of the weekend.

The weather is already 8°C above the seasonal average for this time of year, according to Antonio Sanò, founder of the Italian weather site, and temperatures could rise by as much as 10°C.

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In a typical year these kinds of highs wouldn’t be seen until July, Sanò said.

The incoming heatwave will be particularly humid as the anticyclone is carrying moisture from the Mediterranean sea, according to IlMeteo.

However, the relative cool of the Mediterranean basin at this time of year will contain the heat and keep the temperatures from rising into the high 30s, as would happen if the same type of weather event occurred in August.

READ ALSO: Nine in 10 Italians ‘want more action on climate crisis’, new study finds

The heatwave will stretch over the weekend and continue into next week, peaking on Tuesday, according to weather reports.

Patchy thunderstorms typical of midsummer weather are anticipated in the Alps and the Po Valley, while the centre-south is set to experience hot and sunny conditions bar some isolated storms in the mountains of Abruzzo on Sunday.