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CLIMATE CRISIS

IN PHOTOS: Devastation after deadly flash floods hit central Italy

Flash flooding triggered by heavy rainfall left several towns in the Marche region devastated on Friday, with at least 10 people killed and four missing. 

IN PHOTOS: Devastation after deadly flash floods hit central Italy
Abandoned cars in front of a flooded house in Pianello di Ostra, Ancona, following flash floods that left at least ten people dead. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Photos and video shared online by residents showed terrifying scenes as fast-moving rivers of mud and water swept through towns, while images from AFP showed the aftermath of the devastating floods as emergency crews searched for the missing and helped clear up damage on Friday.

UPDATE: Death toll rises to 10 in flash floods in central Italy

People clean a flooded street following floods in Pianello di Ostra, Ancona. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

“It was scary because it happened so fast. It sounded like a waterfall,” said Laura Marinelli, 33, who grabbed her 18-month-old daughter and ran to neighbours upstairs as her ground-floor home near Ostra began to flood.

The waters kept rising and they climbed onto the roof to call for help.

“We’ve lost everything, all the photos, all the letters you can’t replace,” she told AFP, plastic pink toys floating in the submerged garden nearby.

Residents clear up and assess the damage after flash flooding in the Italian province of Ancona, Marche. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.

Some of the worst damage was seen in the town of Senigallia, while small towns surrounding the tourist town of Urbino were also badly affected.

The fire brigade said it had rescued dozens of people overnight “who took refuge on roofs and in trees” during the floods.

 
Footage of the inland hamlet of Pianello di Ostra showed streets caked with mud and cars piled up after being swept away by flood water.

The wave of bad weather that hit the area “was not expected at these levels, we had no alert in place. The flooding was sudden,” Marche regional councilor for civil protection Stefano Aguzzi told Ansa.

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

People clean a flooded street in Pianello di Ostra, Ancona. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

“There was no time to intervene. There are people who may have been on the street or who had gone out not realising the danger.”

Several areas in Ancona were without electricity or telephone connections. Schools were closed on Friday in the affected areas.

People recovering their belongings in Pianello di Ostra. Photo by Alessandro DI MEO / ANSA / AFP

A flooded field in Sassoferrato, Ancona province, Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP
 

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WEATHER

‘Winter is starting’: Italy braces for snow and storms as cold snap arrives

Northern Italy woke to freezing temperatures on Friday while Vesuvius was dusted with snow as long-delayed winter weather arrived in Italy.

‘Winter is starting’: Italy braces for snow and storms as cold snap arrives

A cold front arriving from northern Europe brought temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius in the eastern Alps in the early hours of Friday, while minus 14 was recorded in Garfagnana, and minus 5 in Milan, Turin and inland Sicily.

Snow also fell at higher altitudes in the south overnight, with local residents capturing images of Vesuvius covered in a dusting of snow.

“Winter is starting,” Claudio Cassardo, climatologist at the University of Turin, told newspaper La Repubblica on Friday.

“We will return to normal seasonal temperatures. However, we’re no longer used to the cold and snow”.

While the north in particular shivers in freezing temperatures and snow was forecast for many areas, including at lower altitudes, central and southern regions were warned to expect heavy rain and stormy conditions from Friday and into the weekend.

Italy’s Department for Civil Protection issued a lower-level alert for storms on Friday in parts of five southern Italian regions, including Basilicata and Calabria, and a medium-level amber alert for Campania, where the agency warned of a risk of hailstones and flash floods.

Showers, strong winds and thunderstorms are expected to spread further across the centre-south and to the Adriatic coast by Saturday, when temperatures are again forecast to drop below zero in inland parts of the centre and north.

Weather website Meteo3B predicted temperatures would drop to 0-1 C across much of the north overnight and in the early morning on Saturday.

Forecasts showed the mildest temperatures in the coming days would be in the southeastern region of Puglia and along the southern coasts of Sicily and Calabria, where a steady 8-10 degrees Celsius is expected over the weekend.

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