PICTURES: Italian island gets its first snow in 18 years

The island of Ponza is all set for a white Christmas, for the first time in 18 years.

PICTURES: Italian island gets its first snow in 18 years
Photo: Confinato a Ponzo‎/Facebook

The island, which lies off the west coast of Italy between Rome and Naples, last saw snow in 1999.

Islanders awoke on Monday to unusually wintery scenes, after a spell of frost and strong winds that have cut off boat connections to the mainland. Neighbouring island Palmarola was also dusted with white.

The snow wasn't heavy, but it was rare enough to send surprised locals out snapping. Here's what it looks like:

Better known for its turquoise waters and scenic coves, Ponza is a popular destination for Romans seeking to escape the summer heat.

Unlike the island – or parts of Italy further north – Rome hasn't had snow this winter, only wind and heavy rain.

IN PICTURES: Weather warnings as snow and ice blanket northern Italy



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.

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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.