Weather: Central and southern Italy on storm alert as temperatures drop

Many parts of Italy were on alert for severe storms on Thursday, with temperatures set to fall and more bad weather predicted across the country over the weekend.

Weather: Central and southern Italy on storm alert as temperatures drop
Bad weather is expected across much of Italy on Thursday, particularly in coastal areas of the south and centre of the country. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Temperatures are expected to fall by up to eight degrees in many parts of central and southern Italy as September begins with the weather taking a turn for the worse.

Violent thunderstorms will spread south from Emilia-Romagna on Thursday, the national civil protection department said.

Storms are forecast to hit early on Thursday in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Marche, Abruzzo, Molise and Campania, and then spread to Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata, and northeastern Sicily.

There will be “intense downpours, frequent electrical activity, hailstorms and strong gusts of wind”, the department said.

“There will be very intense localised weather phenomena, especially along coastal areas,” it predicted.

Thunderstorms and colder temperatures are then expected in the centre-north of Italy over the weekend, according to forecasts from weather website Il Meteo.

Unstable weather is expected across the country for the next few days, as cold air masses move in from the Atlantic while the seas remain warm, meteorologists said.

Emergency services are bracing for further flooding and storm damage less than two weeks after a wave of extreme weather swept across northern parts of the country.

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

READ ALSO: Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Italian environmental group Legambiente said in mid-August the number of such extreme weather events has surged in Italy, with 132 in the last six months alone – the highest average figure in the last decade.

“Italy is ever more subject to extreme climate events” because of global heating caused by human activity, the group 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.