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Weather warnings across Italy ahead of wet weekend

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Weather warnings across Italy ahead of wet weekend
Lightning strikes above Rome in summer 2014. Photo: Marie-Laura Messana/AFP
18:05 CEST+02:00
Most of Italy has been placed on weather alert for Saturday as forecasters warn of storms that have already seen homes flooded and beachgoers struck by lightning in parts of the south.

Thunderstorms were reported on Thursday into Friday in Sicily, Calabria and Puglia, where several people were injured when lightning struck a beach near Salento. Three were taken to hospital, including a 13-year-old boy said to be in serious condition.

Elsewhere in Puglia, rescuers pulled a young child from a car stuck in floods in the town of Grottaglie, near Taranto, as rain turned the streets into lakes. 

In Sicily, meanwhile, firefighters were called out around 100 times overnight to rescue residents trapped in flooded homes, assist motorists and pump water from roads.

Sudden, heavy rainfall was also expected in the north, in Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Emilia Romagna.

Italy's Civil Protection Department issued orange weather warnings for the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Calabria from Friday afternoon, with another alert ordered to take effect in Lombardy on Saturday. 

Most of Italy has been placed under less serious yellow alert for Saturday, the department said, with thunderstorms forecast the length of the country but especially in the north.

Temperatures everywhere are forecast to drop sharply over the weekend, according to Meteo.it, and could fall by as much as 14 degrees Celsius in the north-east, where parts of the mountains are expected to see snowfall.

The bad weather is set to continue on Sunday, followed by a rapid return of summer heat from Monday.

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