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CLIMATE

One killed by tornado as storms hit Sicily

A tornado has killed a 53-year-old man on the island of Sicily as well as injuring others and damaging buildings and farmland.

Rescue services attend to damage in Sicily  caused by the whirlwind.
Rescue services attend to damage in Sicily caused by the whirlwind. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco/Twitter

Further devastation was reported in Sicily on Wednesday after several waves of bad weather struck the island in recent weeks.

A whirlwind hit the districts of Trebalate, Serrameta, Sant’ Elena and Bosco in the south-east of the island, killing one man in the province of Ragusa, Italian media reports.

The 53-year-old victim was reportedly hit head-on by a door that had been ripped off by the wind.

The latest storm has increased the death count following repeated extreme weather events in Sicily and Calabria a few weeks ago which killed three people and submerged city streets and squares.

According to reports, the man had left his house to secure a railing that had been damaged by the strong wind without realising the danger he was in.

Police are at the scene, as the rain and strong winds that continue to affect the Ragusa area blew out telephone connections. Downed trees, collapsed walls and damage to businesses and infrastructure have also been reported.

National rescue services have been working to deal with the whirlwind’s devastation in Ragusa since the morning hours.

A married couple in their sixties has also been injured.

“An extremely violent wave of bad weather has been affecting our territory for several hours now,” said the mayor of Modica Ignizo Abbate.

“There has been a great deal of damage to homes, farms and infrastructure… I urge everyone not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary,” he added.

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

The Department of Civil Protection has announced that there is intense rain in the province of Ragusa and there is continuous rainfall in the area, placing the southern part of Sicily and the eastern side of Sardinia under an orange alert (heavy rainfall, landslide and flood risk).

Eight other regions have been placed under a yellow weather warning (localised heavy and potentially dangerous rainfall).

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.

Green signifies calm and stable conditions, while a red weather warning is issued only in the event of widespread, very intense and persistent conditions that pose a threat to public safety.

The continuing bad weather comes after severe storms battered southern Italy earlier this month, after a cyclone brought thunderstorms and cold weather.

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WEATHER

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 IlMeteo.it, and temperatures could rise by as much as 10°C.

READ ALSO: From Venice to Mont Blanc, how is the climate crisis affecting Italy?

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.

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