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Italy braced for week of winter storms

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Italy braced for week of winter storms
High water in Venice in November 2016. This year's "acqua alta" was the highest in four years. Photo: Marco Berterello/AFP.
19:55 CET+01:00
High water in Venice and an orange alert near Naples: winter is coming to Italy, with a vengeance.

After months of baking sun and clear skies that continued well into October, autumn has finally come to Italy – and winter too, from the look of the latest weather report.

The storms that began over the weekend are set to continue all week, prompting authorities to issue warnings of floods, landslides and travel delays.

Here are the areas to look out for.

Campania: orange alert

Almost the entire region of Campania has been placed on orange alert – one below red –for strong winds and storms, which have already caused several mudslides.

Areas along the Amalfi Coast are the worst affected. Some people living in mountain areas near Sorrento have been cut off for days after a landslide blocked the road. Elsewhere firefighters had to free motorists trapped in flooded underpasses.

 

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Evacuations have been ordered in certain areas at high risk. The danger has been heightened by the summer drought and wildfires, which left the ground hard and bare of vegetation.

In Positano, schools were ordered to close on Tuesday and Wednesday. Meanwhile trains in and around Naples, including to Pompeii, suffered heavy delays.

Emilia-Romagna: yellow alert

The northern region of Emilia-Romagna has issued warnings of floods and landslides, including in its main city, Bologna.

 

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Thunderstorms are forecast to continue throughout Tuesday night into Wednesday. Meanwhile the north-east coast has been warned to expect waves 2.5 metres high.

Venice: high waters

Venice is even more underwater than usual: the city, currently hosting the Biennale arts festival, has measured some of its highest water in years in the past few days.

The “acqua alta” has receded since it hit a four-year peak of 127 cm on Monday, but waters remain high.

 

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Tides have been affected by a strong winter wind called the Bora, which regularly lashes the region.

Police had to rescue a windsurfer from the Venice lagoon after the fierce gusts blew him off his board.

Northern Apennines: first snows

The first snows that began over the weekend have continued in other parts of Italy. Nearly 40 cm fell in parts of the Apennines north of Florence on Monday night alone.

 

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Authorities have been working to keep roads clear and ice-free, but drivers are advised to be extra careful and use chains or snow tyres.

Rome: bring an umbrella

The capital, meanwhile, has been spared the worst of the damage so far – but heavy thunderstorms that began on Sunday are set to continue into next week.  

 

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