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WEATHER: Snow and storms forecast in Italy over public holiday

Heavy rain and snow is forecast across Italy this week as the country gears up for a day off work for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The 'Immaculate Storm' is set to hit Italy from Wednesday.
The 'Immaculate Storm' is set to hit Italy from Wednesday. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO/AFP

Storms, high winds and “abundant” snowfall are forecast in the coming days, with the wave of bad weather dubbed the ‘Immaculate Storm’ by Italian media as it is set to hit on the day of the Festa dell’Immacolata Concezione or L’Immacolata, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Cold air masses will arrive from the icy north of Europe from Wednesday December 8th onwards, according to weather reports from Il Meteo.

Snow is expected to fall first on low ground in the north, in the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria and Veneto, Il Meteo’s director Antonio Sanò told the Ansa news agency.

He also predicted “intense southerly winds which will worsen conditions over Sardinia, Tuscany, Lazio and Campania.”

READ ALSO: Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather like a true Italian

Hitting the Alps, the cold air will enter Italy mainly through what weather reports refer to as a Porta della Bora, or a ‘door of the Bora’. This is a name used in Italian weather reports to describe an ‘entry point’ through which cold air currents pass to reach Italy.

At the moment Wednesday’s forecast says this will be through the Po Valley in the north-east of the country, causing a general drop in temperatures throughout the surrounding regions.

The wave of cold, blustery winter weather won’t just hit on Wednesday, but will continue throughout the whole week, Sanò said, with the storm moving south.

“In the following days a cyclonic vortex fed by very cold air will form over the lower Tyrrhenian, sparking a phase of bad weather in the centre and south where snow will fall as well as driving rain.”

“The weather will get better in the north, but it will be very cold. In Milan, because of snow on the ground, Thursday and Friday will be days of frost and ice with temperatures below zero during the day too,” he added.

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

Snow has already been reported in Valpadana, an area of valley referring to the Po river basin in the north of Italy. Milan is also expected to experience a snow dump of 15-20 cm.

Given the very cold temperatures, especially in the northwest, snow is also expected to cover nearby cities including Cuneo, Turin, Genoa, Varese, Como, Bergamo, Brescia, Pavia and Piacenza.

Snowfall at very low altitudes forecast in western parts of the Veneto region too, such as in Verona and Vicenza and in the plains of Padua. More snow could continue to fall until the early hours of Thursday 9th in the north-east.

“Widespread nighttime frost will affect all northern regions and the interior areas of the centre,” confirmed Sanò.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Department of Civil Protection has issued rain and thunderstorm warnings from Tuesday December 7th.

Parts of southern Italy, including Calabria, Basilicata and most of Sicily, have been placed under a yellow alert for 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.

Glossary

La Bora – This is the name given to a gusty wind that moves downwards. It’s a cold current and remains crisp despite flowing down to warmer temperatures compared to the summit. The term is derived from ‘Borea‘, the personification of the north wind for the Ancient Greeks.

Porta della Bora  The so-called ‘door of the Bora’ is an entrance through which this cold current passes to reach Italy. There are a few such entrances described by weather forecasters. Depending on where the wind passes through, some areas will be more affected by rain or snow. The main gateway, however, is Postojna in Slovenia, near the Alps of Friuli Venezia Giulia.

La burrasca – A gale, a strong wind. According to the international Beaufort scale, this type of wind is characterised by a speed of between 15.3 and 25.1 metres per second, and distinguished as moderate, strong or very strong, depending on the speed. In everyday usage, you might hear this said in reference to a sea storm. ‘Una burrasca improvvisa ha sconvolto le tranquille onde del mare!’ – A sudden gale disrupted the calm waves of the sea!

Nevicare – to snow

Il temporale/La tempesta – the storm

Ventoso – windy

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WEATHER

WEATHER: Italy set for another scorching weekend as heatwave continues

African anticyclone ‘Hannibal’ is forecast to bring record-breaking temperatures across the country. Will we witness the hottest May weekend in Italian history?

WEATHER: Italy set for another scorching weekend as heatwave continues

Much to the dismay of many residents already feeling the heat in Italy this week, the African anticyclone known as ‘Hannibal’ shows no sign of letting up. 

The hot air currents sweeping in from Tunisia and Algeria have already caused an unusual heatwave, with temperatures rising well above seasonal averages in many parts of the peninsula over the past week.

However, judging from the latest forecasts, it seems like the worst is yet to come. 

READ ALSO: ‘Four to five light meals a day’: Italy’s official advice during a heatwave

According to weather website IlMeteo.it, the wave of sticky heat, known in Italian as ‘afa’, is expected to reach its peak on Saturday, May 21st: exactly a month before the official start of summertime on June 21st (the summer solstice).

With two days to go until the projected heatwave climax in most parts of the country, experts say the temperatures registered over the coming weekend may break records set in May 2003 – the hottest May to date.

Lorenzo Tedici, a meteorologist with IlMeteo, said: “Our first projection shows that, on Saturday 21st, maximum temperatures in Turin, Milan, Bologna, Ferrara, Palermo and Cagliari may well exceed those recorded in May 2003, which would make the current anticyclone a record-setting one.”

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

So, in short, people up and down the stivale might have the luck (or misfortune – you decide) to witness the hottest May in Italian history. But what temperatures are we talking about, exactly?

It’ll be a weekend of exceptionally high, August-like temperatures, forecasters say, for many locations in the north of the country.

Tuscany and Sardinia will potentially reach temperatures as high as 35°C: some 10 degrees above the seasonal average.

Even mountainous areas at an altitude of up to 1500 metres will likely be affected by the heatwave.

Moving down the peninsula, the anticyclone is expected to bring temperatures of up to 33°C to southern regions by Monday or Tuesday.

According to the latest forecasts, ‘Hannibal’ will keep a tight grip on the country until early next week.

And it’s not just Italy. You may find some solace in knowing that neighbouring France and Spain are also currently sweltering, with both having already registered temperatures of 12°C above average for this time of year.

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