Torrential rains, storms, hailstorms and strong winds were felt across northern Italy over the weekend, forcing the closure of roads and creating substantial damage to infrastructure. Urban centres such as Milan and Bergamo experienced thunderstorms all weekend while two towns, Enego and Vittorio Veneto, have already declared a state of emergency.
A 13-year-old boy of Moroccan nationality has been declared missing after he was washed away by strong currents in the Adda river – a tributary to the Po, Italy's largest river – in the municipality of Lodi, near Milan.
The flood follows a week of record high temperatures and extreme weather conditions across Italy. In Bolzano, which sits at the feet of the Alps, temperatures reached 38C last week before 64 millimetres of rain fell in a few hours. Fire fighters responded to 120 emergencies in Bolzano alone, according to La Repubblica.
In Catania, the heel of the archipelago's boot-like shape and the other end of Italy, families in some parts were evacuated as a precaution last week.
The rains have seen rivers overflow and flood throughout northern regions, from Piedmont to Veneto and Lombardy. Hailstorms destroyed camping grounds, garages and homes in the northeast.
According to Coldiretti, an Italian farmers association, the torrential weather conditions have also affected the annual prosecco harvest, with entire vineyards destroyed. A spokesman for Coldiretti said “hail grains like ping pong balls” had fallen all weekend.
The storms across northern Italy follow a week in which whole areas of the south were placed on red alert, the highest warning for extreme weather conditions.
In some areas of Catania, more than 200 millimetres of rain fell in less than 24 hours last week. Cars were swept off the road and at least one person was reported dead. Four earthquakes also struck the central Italian region of l'Aquila midway through last week.
Weather forecasts predict temperatures in the high 30s Celsius again this week, with only mild showers expected.