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Freak storms hit Italy leaving one man dead and another missing

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Freak storms hit Italy leaving one man dead and another missing
Stormy seas off the coast of Sicily. Photo: AFP
09:16 CEST+02:00
One person died and another went missing on Sunday as unseasonably high winds and heavy rain pummelled Italy over the weekend.

In Sicily, an unexpected gust of wind killed a 65-year-old German kitesurfer on the islands of the Stagnone nature reserve, smashing him against a parked car as he tried to go into the sea, Italian media reported.

He was not wearing a buoyancy device or helmet despite the authorities recently making them mandatory for kitesurfers.

A Romanian man was missing in the waters of the canal between Mincio and Pozzolo in northern Italy after he and four of his countrymen ended up in the water during a fishing trip.

The anglers' car rolled into the water early on Sunday morning after they sought shelter from the bad weather and fell asleep reportedly without the handbrake on.

Emergency services scoured the waters in boats despite heavy rain after all but one of the men was rescued.

Firefighters sad they were called out over 200 times on Sunday for storm-related incidents, adding that the worst-hit areas were the northern regions of Verona, Venice and Vicenza.

While the weather had calmed down across most of the country by Monday morning, Italy's Department for Civil Protection issued an amber alert for the region of Emilia-Romagna with more bad weather expected in the region.

 

Up to 30 centimetres (around 12 inches) of snow fell in the Dolomite mountains of northeastern Italy, with temperatures plunging to unseasonal levels.

Anything above 700 metres was blanketed in white, and the avalanche warning level was raised to three out of five.

Three French mountaineers were rescued from Monte Rosa in the Alps at around 4,000 metres altitude as temperatures fell as low as -15 degrees Celsius (five degrees Fahrenheit), Italian media reported.

Wind and rain further south also destroyed vineyards and greenhouses and flooded fields in the northern regions of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, farmers' union Coldiretti said.

It estimated the loss of young fruit at a sensitive time of year at millions of euros (dollars).

 
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