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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
Stormy weather is expected across Italy from Monday after a long spell of mild autumn weather. File photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

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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CLIMATE CRISIS

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.

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