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HEATWAVE

Italy’s heatwave to last another week and get even hotter, say forecasts

With extreme heat causing severe drought and blackouts in northern Italy this week, temperatures are expected to soar further in the coming days.

Italy's heatwave to last another week and get even hotter, say forecasts
The dried-up bed of river Po in Boretto, northeast of Parma, on June 15th, 2022. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

With thunderstorms in mountainous areas of northern Italy on Thursday, there are hopes that we could soon see the end of the blistering heatwave that has brought temperatures up to the high 30s and low 40s this week.

But stormy conditions are not expected to cool things down, with forecasters at weather website IlMeteo.it warning that “maximum temperatures are seeing slight and temporary decreases, but the relative humidity, and therefore the heat, is increasing” in northern areas.

Meanwhile, the south and centre of the country continues to swelter in still, humid conditions, with temperatures in the high 30s expected throughout the weekend.

Weather forecasters warn that the heatwave is set to continue until the end of the month.

Temperatures of “up to 40°C in the shade” can be expected across much of Italy early next week, according to forecasts in newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday.

Drought in Italy: What water use restrictions are in place and where?

The Italian health ministry has issued red alerts for extreme heat on Friday and Saturday in and around the cities of Bologna, Campobasso, Florence, and Pescara.

Lower-level amber or yellow heat alerts were issued for Friday and Saturday in almost every other part of the country, except Turin and Genoa.

While the most extreme temperatures are being seen in the southern and island regions of Italy – particularly in Sicily, Puglia, and Sardinia – the north of the country has suffered badly with drought and power outages due to the heatwave. 

The Italian government is set to announce a state of emergency in the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, which are suffering the most severe drought seen in 70 years.

In Milan and Turin, a massive increase in electricity usage for cooling day and night has pushed the electricity grid beyond its limits over the past week, leading to blackouts.

Until a few years ago, the typical maximum temperatures in Italy at the end of June would be around 26°C in the north, 27 in the centre and 28 for the south, according to IlMeteo.it.

With many parts of Europe experiencing unusually high temperatures for this time of year, experts have repeatedly warned that the increase is caused by global heating.

“As a result of climate change, heatwaves are starting earlier,” said Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva.

“What we’re witnessing today is unfortunately a foretaste of the future” if concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to rise and push temperatures towards 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, she added.

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WEATHER

Italy braces for storms as warm autumn weather ends

A long spell of unseasonably warm weather across Italy is expected to end on Monday, with forecasters warning that a series of storms is on the way.

Italy braces for storms as warm autumn weather ends

A short spell of warm weather in early November is not unusual in Italy – it’s referred to as a ‘St Martin’s summer’ – but this year it has lasted around a month in many parts of the country.

The mild autumn weather is now set to come to an abrupt end as a wave of cyclones will move in from the Atlantic this week, said IlMeteo.it director and meteorologist Antonio Sanò in a forecast on Monday.

The north-west of Italy will see rain on Monday and snow at high altitudes, while showers are expected in central regions.

Weather elsewhere will be changeable, forecasts said, before stormy weather moves to the centre-south by the middle of the week.

READ ALSO: How climate change is creating disputes on the Swiss-Italian border

Conditions are expected to be milder on Thursday before a second cyclone moves in on Friday and Saturday, bringing heavy rain and scattered local thunderstorms to much of the country, Sanò said.

The late arrival of stormy autumn weather will bring temperatures back down to seasonal averages – though sea temperatures remain unusually high, Sanò warned.

This difference in temperatures, meteorologists explain, creates heavy rain clouds bringing the risk of sudden bursts of extreme rainfall; a phenomenon known in Italian as a bomba d’acqua, or ‘water bomb’, which often causes flash flooding.

READ ALSO: Italy records five times more extreme weather events in ten years

Experts say climate change is responsible for changing temperatures which are boosting the intensity and frequency of ‘extreme weather events’ such as floods.

The number of such events in Italy, including droughts, storms, floods, hailstorms, strong winds and tornadoes, has already been 42 percent higher in 2022 so far than last year.

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