Italy issues storm alert for central and southern regions as heatwave breaks

Many parts of southern and central Italy were on alert for thunderstorms, hail and high winds on Wednesday evening as the heatwave continued to break.

Italy issues storm alert for central and southern regions as heatwave breaks
More bad weather is forecast in the Lazio region around Rome before the return of hot weather later this week. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Italy’s civil protection department issued a bad-weather alert for parts of Abruzzo, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Molise and Sicily as thunderstorms followed days of sticky heat.

While many welcomed the prospect of rain in southern areas after months of extremely hot and dry conditions, the weather has turned from one extreme to the other.

READ ALSO: Italy reports a surge in deaths this summer due to extreme heat

Torrential rain has already caused mudslides and severe damage in Campania, near Avellino south of Naples, while two people drowned in a flooded canal in the northern city of Padua, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

Further storms are forecast across the country this week before another heatwave begins.

There have so far been 1,140 ‘extreme weather events’ in Italy this summer, farmers’ association Coldiretti said on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Will summer 2022 be Italy’s hottest ever?

Along with much of the rest of mainland Europe, Italy has been battered by a series of heatwaves this summer that have fuelled forest fires and drained rivers.

The Po Valley in the north of the Italy, one of country’s most important agricultural areas, is currently experiencing its worst drought in 70 years,

While it’s not yet known if 2022 will be the hottest summer on record, it is on course to be the driest, meteorologists said.

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Italian climate activists throw flour over Andy Warhol car

Italian environmental group Ultima Generazione on Friday poured flour over a sports car painted by Andy Warhol on display in Milan, in the latest of a wave of protests demanding action on climate change.

Italian climate activists throw flour over Andy Warhol car

Protesters entered the Fabbrica del Vapore exhibition space in Milan at around 11am on Friday morning and threw eight kilos of flour over a BMW sports car painted by the late Andy Warhol back in 1979. 

Two members of the environmental group Ultima Generazione (‘Last Generation’) then proceeded to glue their hands to the car’s windows. 

At the time of writing it wasn’t clear whether the artwork, valued at 10 million euros, had suffered any significant damage.

“They told us beauty will save the world, but that’s bullshit,” Ultima Generazione sad in a statement released immediately afterwards.

“Only immediate and radical actions to tackle the effects of the current climate crisis will change the world as we know it.”

Activists from Italy’s Ultima Generazione after their latest protest in Milan on Friday, November 18th. Photo: Ultima Generazione.

In the same statement, the group referred to the Italian government’s handling of the environmental crisis as “criminal”, accusing people in power of “endangering people’s lives”.

Friday’s episode was only the latest in a series of demonstrations seeking to jolt public opinion over the consequences of climate change and the need to make the switch to renewable energy sources.

READ ALSO: Climate activists hurl pea soup at Van Gogh painting in Rome

Only two weeks ago, on November 4th, protesters from the same group hurled pea soup at a Van Gogh painting in Rome – an action which Italy’s new culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, later condemned as “ignoble”. 

Ultima Generazione began in 2021 as a “campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience” aimed at uniting Italian activists concerned about climate change and the future of the planet.

The group has two main demands. Firstly, they ask that the reopening of old coal power plants be paused immediately and that all scheduled fracking operations be cancelled. 

Secondly, they want an increase in the use of solar energy and wind power equivalent to at least 20 gigawatts. 

Ultima Generazione is part of a EU-wide network of climate activists who have been recently targeting world-famous artworks, including Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in The Hague, Netherlands and Gustav Klimt’s “Death and Life” in Vienna.