Severe storms claim 27 lives across Italy, one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years

Severe storms claim 27 lives across Italy, one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years

Severe storms raging over entire Italy since October 28, 2018 claimed lives of at least 27 people in 7 days to November 3, 2018. The northeastern province of Belluno has been particularly badly hit. Severe weather continues in parts of the country and the death toll is expected to rise.

Intense storms produced strong winds and heavy rain over most of the country over the past 7 days, causing widespread damage, flooding, landslides and tornadoes. 

"This is one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years," civil protection agency said.

Damage in the northern region of Veneto reached 1 billion euros after winds up to 190 km (118 miles) downed hundreds of thousands of trees and heavy rain caused widespread floods. Authorities described some of the scenes as 'apocalyptic.'

The association of Italian agricultural companies - Coldiretti said in a statement that gales had destroyed around 14 million trees, many in the far north.

As much as 75% of Venice was flooded on October 29 after the water level reached 156 cm (5.1 feet) above average sea level, the fourth highest level ever recorded in the city and the highest since December 2008. In 1966, when floods swept through the country, the waters reached 194 cm (6.3 feet).

"We are on our knees, we have already scheduled the closure of all the schools," said Veneto Governor Luca Zaia. Zaia has proposed suspending taxes and mortgage payments for the storm-hit, as has Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti.

A violent tornado raged through the city of Terracina, south of Rome, for about 10 minutes during the afternoon hours of October 29, forcing residents to run for cover, seriously damaging numerous homes and buildings and leaving at least two people dead and dozens injured. The city center was brought to its knees, local media said. It was one of the two reported tornadoes in the city on October 29.

Another tornado lashed the northwestern province of Savona, killing an elderly woman.

Storm damage has also cut off roads to the picturesque village of Portofino, leaving ferries the only transport to and from the Mediterranean port town for the next few days. 

Falling trees killed three people near Rome and another died in Naples after strong winds hit the area. 

Violent waves and winds in Rapallo, near Genoa, destroyed some 200 large luxury yachts. Of the 390 yachts in the marina, half were destroyed, marina director Marina Scarpino said.

According to the regional newspaper Il Gazzettino, some 160 000 households were left without electricity in Belluno and Treviso provinces.

A large landslide hit the regional road 203 linking Cencenighe and Agordo, Belluno, effectively cutting off municipalities to the north of the event.

At least 10 people were killed, including a family of 9, after floods hit Palermo, Sicily overnight Sunday, November 4. Two others are missing.

Rescue services said the bodies were found in their house in Casteldaccia next to a small river which had burst its banks.

Featured image: Damage in Rapallo, Italy - November 2018. 


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