Two killed as tornado hits Italian tourist island

A tornado hit the Sicilian island of Pantelleria on Friday, killing two people and seriously injuring four others, the civil protection agency said.

Two killed as tornado hits Italian tourist island
A jeep overturned by the tornado which hit the island of Pantelleria on Friday evening. Photo: Protezione Civile

The whirlwind “hit and overturned six cars”, the agency said in a post on Facebook, with photographs showing one vehicle thrown against a house and another lying battered in a field.

The two dead were an off-duty fireman and an 86-year-old man, both of whom were driving their cars as the winds hit the tiny volcanic outcrop, a tourist hotspot which lies closer to North Africa than Italy.

The wind ripped down a coastal road in seconds, according to media reports. “It was an apocalyptic sight,” an unnamed paramedic at the scene told ANSA news agency.

A hospital helicopter from nearby Lampedusa island was ready to provide assistance once the weather improved, it said.

According to the Civil Protection Agency, nine others were injured, four of whom remain in critical condition.

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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.