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PICTURES: Weather warnings as snow and ice blanket northern Italy

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PICTURES: Weather warnings as snow and ice blanket northern Italy
Snow in Turin earlier in December. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
11:54 CET+01:00
Parts of northern Italy are on red alert after a weekend of freezing rain and snow that has left roads icy, trains stuck and schools closed.

Italy saw its first widespread snowfall of 2017 over the weekend as flakes fell from the far north as far as Tuscany.

While people enjoyed the wintery scenes in Milan and Venice, elsewhere the weather disrupted train services and created treacherous conditions on roads.

 

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On Sunday, around 400 people were stranded on a train that got stuck between Milan and the French city of Nice when an overhead power line froze. Over three hours later – and with the heat working in just four of the seven carriages – the train was finally towed towards Genoa.

Rail services remained disrupted on Monday morning, with lines out of Genoa partially closed and cancellations on routes heading north from Turin. Delays were reported further south, too, on the Bologna-Prato and Parma-La Spezia lines.

Flights from Genoa and Milan airports were also disrupted.

 

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Drivers should be prepared for wintery conditions on roads across northern Italy, with snow forecast near major motorways around Milan, Como, Genoa, Venice, Bologna and Florence. The Italian motorway authority recommends fitting winter tyres or carrying snow chains.

Particularly dangerous is the phenomenon of gelicidio, or glaze ice, the freezing rain that has fallen all over northern Italy and formed hazardous slippery patches.

 

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Northern Tuscany, which has been battered by hours of snow and rain, called a maximum red alert until midnight on Monday. Several of the region’s provinces ordered schools closed for the day – including Pisa, which also cancelled university lectures.

In Umbria, meanwhile, emergency services are working to clear trees toppled by fierce winds. 

Italy's mountain areas, where snow has been falling for several weeks, saw some of their heaviest snowfall of the year so far. In the north-western ski resort of Courmayeur, more than half a metre of snow fell over the weekend.

The disruption has reached as far south as Naples and Sicily, where strong winds have disrupted boat services and left smaller islands cut off.

The winter weather is forecast to continue on Monday, with snow expected in Le Marche, Abruzzo, Molise and parts of Lazio. Lombardy, Veneto, Trentino and Friuli Venezia Giulia were also expected to see storms.

 

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