Four dead as storms, floods and tornadoes wreak havoc across northern and central Italy

High winds, tornadoes and giant hail: extreme weather hit many parts of Italy's north and centre-north this weekend, leaving at least four holidaymakers dead and causing widespread damage. Weather alerts continue over the coming days.

Four dead as storms, floods and tornadoes wreak havoc across northern and central Italy
File photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Severe weather has been reported over the weekend everywhere  from South Tyrol down to the central region of Lazio around Rome, with at least four people killed in two separate incidents, and several reported missing.

In Tuscany, two girls aged three and 14 were reportedly killed on Saturday night when a tornado reportedly uprooted a tree which hit their tent at a campsite in Marina di Massa.

Two German tourists were killed on Sunday night during severe flooding on the Brenner state road near Bolzano, South Tyrol, the Ansa news agency reports. A family car collided with a lorry, killing two of the passengers; a 45-year-old father and 67-year-old grandmother. A seven-year-old boy and his grandfather reportedly survived, while the lorry driver was unhurt. 

The vehicles had been diverted onto the local road when the motorway was closed due to storms. The motorway has now reopened on Monday, however train lines in the area remain closed.

A 38-year-old man has been reported missing in the Varese area after being swept away by a swollen river.

The city of Verona is bracing for further flooding after being hit by multiple waves of bad weather since August 23rd, with high winds and giant hailstones also causing considerable damage in the area.

Severe damage was reported across much of the Veneto region, with the Vicenza and Belluno areas also hit particularly hard. The famed ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo in Belluno suffered landslides due to strong winds and heavy rain.

In the Vicenza area of Veneto a tromba d'aria (small tornado) flattened trees, fences and road signs and damaged buildings.

The bad weather reached neighbouring Lombardy with hailstones “the size of eggs” reported in Cremona and Mantova, and heavy rain and flooding in Alessandria.

And in Bergamo, firefighters had to clear roads made impassable by severe hail.

Meanwhile in parts of the south, fire crews have been battling blazes in woods and scrubland from southern Tuscany and Marche to Sicily after a hot, dry summer. 
Italy's Civl Protection department continued to issue weather warnings on Monday with orange (level two) alerts in place for Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Lazio.
Lower-level yellow alerts were also issued for Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy and Tuscany.
With the wave of bad weather expected to spread south over Monday and Tuesday, yellow alerts were also issued for the regions of Abruzzo, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Molise, Puglia, Sicily, Tuscany and Umbria on Monday.


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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.

READ ALSO: Nine in 10 Italians ‘want more action on climate crisis’, new study finds

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.