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Extreme weather: 4 months worth of rain in 2 days hit Sardinia, Italy


Record-breaking rains that hit the Italian island of Sardinia over the past two days caused severe flooding and landslides. More than 100 people were forced to evacuate from their homes, schools have been closed and firefighters were called to over 100 interventions. The eastern coast of the island is reportedly the worst affected by this wave of severe weather.

Parts of the island received over 160 mm (6.3 inches) of rain on May 1 and 2, 2018, more than four times the rainfall they usually see in May. The rains left many areas flooded, especially in its northern and western regions, caused numerous landslides, closed roads and schools and left rural residents stranded.

Firefighters in Oristano said they were called out more than 50 times on May 2 alone as cars skidded or became stuck, buildings flooded and trees toppled, The Local reported. Ancient Roman baths in Fordongianus were reported flooded and further south, part of a hospital's ceiling collapsed.

Firefighters were called to over 60 interventions in Cagliari and surrounding areas. Rescuers were also sent to retrieve a group of 14 shepherds who found themselves cut off in the remote north-east. 

The Tirso river broke its banks in several places in Oristano province and the Flumini Mannu flooded fields in San Nicolò d’Arcidano, also in Oristano.

Around 100 people (20 families) have been evacuated in Torpé in Nuoro Province as a precaution due to rising levels of the Posada river.

In Siniscola, Nuoro Province, a record-breaking 164 mm (6.45 inches) of rain fell in 48 hours between May 2 and 3, considerably more than the May monthly average of 36 mm (1.4 inches). In 12 month, this region usually receives around 660 mm (25.9 inches).

The region of San Teodoro which receives an average of 550 mm / 21.6 inches in a year, measured 134 mm  (5.27 inches) in 48 hours while Posada registered 133 mm (5.23 inches) of 585 mm (23 inches) in a year. The island's capital, Cagliari, received 68 mm (2.67 inches) of its annual 441 mm (17.36 inches).

There are no reports of injuries or deaths but the material damage is substantial.

The Civil Protection Department issued a maximum red alert in three regions – Campidano di Oristano and Tirso near the central-west coast and Gallura in the north-east – until midnight on Thursday, May 3, while the rest of the island remains on orange alert. 

Rain and thunderstorms are expected to continue until the next week. 

Featured image: Floods in Sardinia, Italy on May 2, 2018. Credit: Vigili del Fuoco

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