Two dead as northern Italy battered by severe storms

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected]
Two dead as northern Italy battered by severe storms
Incidents including flash floods and lightning strikes are becoming more common in Italy, data shows. Pascal GUYOT / AFP

Two people died on Thursday and around a hundred others were evacuated in Tuscany, local authorities said, as storms, heavy rain and hail hit many parts of northern Italy.


Both victims were hit by falling trees, local media reports said.

Four people were injured by toppling trees at the seaside camping site of Marina di Massa, while four others were rushed to hospital in the medieval town of Barga after the car they were travelling in was hit by a torn-off roof, according to local news site Toscana in Diretta.

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The civil protection agency prepared emergency accommodation in schools and gyms for those forced from their homes after bad weather toppled trees and tore off roofs in the area.


Several regions reported serious incidents involving both people and property on Thursday.

High winds sweeping through St Mark's Square in Venice on Thursday dislodged fragments from its famous belltower, according to the AGI new agency.

The city of Milan meanwhile ordered public parks to be closed on Friday and urged residents to avoid leaving their cars under trees.

Photos and videos shared on social media on showed the damage caused to homes and businesses in the Liguria region after severe storms hit the north-western coast of Italy overnight.

Winds of up to 120km/h hit the coast, while heavy rain reportedly caused damage to power lines and the Genoa-La Spezia railway.

The mayor of Sestri Levante, on Liguria's coast, said homes, businesses and beach facilities had been "heavily hit" and the local authority had "requested a 'state of calamity' given the extraordinary extent of the damage."

Hailstones of up to 4-5 centimetres in diameter were reported in the Ligurian provinces of Chiavari and Sestri Levante.

In Boara, near Ferrara (Emilia-Romagna), a whirlwind (tromba d'aria in Italian) caused the collapse of a construction crane.

No one was reported injured in the incident, though the crane caused serious damage to three houses located in the area.

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The extreme weather was being caused by masses of low-pressure air moving south, according to reports.

According to the latest forecasts, extreme weather will continue to affect the north of the country until at least Friday, when the low-pressure area currently wreaking havoc across the northern regions might finally ease off.

The Italian Civil Protection department issued an amber alert for Lombardy and Veneto for Friday, August 19th, whereas a lower-level yellow alert will be in place for all the other regions in the north of the country.

Experts say climate change driven by human activity is boosting the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts and wildfires.


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