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CLIMATE

Italy hit by 20 ‘severe weather events’ in a day as Liguria sees record rainfall

Italy is seeing historic levels of rainfall as a result of weather disturbances in the Atlantic, according to meteorologists.

Firefightersinspect damages caused by a landslide in Laglio, on July 28, 2021, after heavy rain caused floods in towns surrounding Lake Como in northern Italy.
Firefighters inspect damages caused by a landslide in Laglio, on July 28, 2021, after heavy rain caused floods in towns surrounding Lake Como in northern Italy. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Severe weather has devastated farms and blocked roads in some areas this week as bad weather swept much of the country.

Three national records were broken in the space of a few hours on October 4th, reports the weather site Meteo Giornale.

The municipalities of Urbe and Montenotte Inferiore in the province of Savona experienced 368 mm in three hours and 490 mm in six hours respectively, while Rossiglione in the province of Genova saw 733 mm in 12 hours.

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: The Italian cities worst affected by flooding and heatwaves

All three areas are located in the hinterlands of the northwestern region of Liguria.

The country as a whole was hit by 20 severe weather events in one day on Monday, including tornadoes, hailstorms, windstorms, and torrential rainfall that caused damage to cities and countryside across the peninsula, with the northwest particularly badly affected, according to the agriculture industry association Coldiretti.

The storms “devastated fields, pastures, stables and agricultural vehicles as well as blocking roads and causing landslides and landslides in the countryside,” the association said in a press release published on Tuesday.

The group estimated that Italy’s agricultural industry has lost €2 billion so far this year as a result of extreme weather events.

More advanced and less bureaucratic risk management tools and structural interventions are required in order to mitigate the damage from severe weather, but “above all a commitment to curb climate change” is what’s necessary, the association said.

Extreme weather events including floods and wildfires are becoming more frequent in Italy, studies show.

In August the highest temperatures ever recorded in Europe were reported by Sicily’s Agrometeorological Information System (SIAS), which documented a temperature of 48.8°C near Syracuse on August 11th.

Thousands of forest fires were recorded across the peninsula over the summer, with one in the west of the island of Sardinia ravaging almost 20,000 hectares during the worst fires seen in decades.

Italy’s 2021 fire season was significantly more destructive than the previous average, according to EU data.

READ ALSO: Hundreds of youth activists protest climate inaction ahead of Milan summit

At a conference in Milan on Thursday, UN chief Antonio Guterres urged delegates due to attend the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow at the end of this month to bring their emissions plans in line with a 1.5C pathway.

“This means that they must commit to net-zero by mid-century, with ambitious 2030 targets, and clear plans to achieve them,” he said.

Guterres also called on developed nations at COP26 to make good on their promise to deliver $100 billion each year to countries already bearing the brunt of climate disasters.

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CLIMATE

Central and southern Italy brace for storms and heavy snow

Storms and snowfall are forecast across much of central and southern Italy over the next few days, according to weather reports.

Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy.
Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy. Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Italy’s Civil Protection Department on Monday issued ‘orange’ alerts for bad weather along Campania’s Tyrrhenian coastline and the western part of Calabria, while Sicily, Basilicata, Lazio, Molise, Umbria, Abruzzo, central-western Sardinia, and the remaining areas of Campania and Calabria are under a lower-level ‘yellow’ weather warning.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is warning Italy’s central-southern regions to prepare for a blast of polar air from the Arctic Circle that will bring heavy snowfall, rain and storms, reports national weather forecaster Il Meteo.

The village of Grotte di Castro in the province of Viterbo, two hours’ drive north of Rome, mountainous parts of Sardinia, and much of the province of Campobasso in the central-eastern region of Molise were already blanketed in snow on Monday morning.

The department is responsible for predicting, preventing and managing emergency events across the country, and uses a green, yellow, orange and red graded colour coding system for weather safety reports.

An orange alert signifies a heavy rainfall, landslide and flood risk, while a yellow alert warns of localised heavy and potentially dangerous rainfall.

The current meteorological conditions mean that snow is expected to reach unusually low altitudes of around 450-500 metres, with flakes already falling thickly on parts of the southern-central Apennines mountain range at 500-700 metres altitude.

The hills of Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Lazio, Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Basilicata are likely to see heavy snow around the 500m mark, while areas at an altitude of 1000m or higher will see between 50-60 cm of fresh snow.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO /AFP

In areas where the snow is unlikely to reach, heavy rains and thunderstorms are anticipated, with rain forecast throughout Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Lazio, reports Il Meteo.

Strong winds are forecast over the whole country, with the island regions of Sicily and Sardinia facing windspeeds of over 100km/hour and the risk of storm surges, according to the national newspaper La Repubblica.

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: The Italian cities worst affected by flooding and heatwaves

The north of the country, meanwhile, will see sun but low temperatures of below 0°C at night in many areas, including across much of the Po Valley.

While conditions are expected to stabilise on Tuesday, cold currents from Northern Europe are forecast to trigger another wave of bad weather on Wednesday and Thursday, with Sardinia and Italy’s western coastline again at risk of storms and heavy rainfall that will move up towards Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto in the north.

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