A violent storm struck Italy's northern region on Sunday, August 23, 2020, bringing hail, paralyzing floods, strong winds, and a tornado. In a statement on Monday, August 24, the National Confederation of Farmers (Coldiretti) said the severe weather caused "millions of euros in damages." On the same day, a state of emergency has been declared in several provinces, with authorities saying the consequences were "devastating."
The severe storm struck Verona on Sunday afternoon, causing waterlogging and road blockage. Strong winds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph) caused considerable damage to homes and uprooted hundreds of trees.
The fire department received more than 220 calls for assistance, prompting the civil defense and police departments to put staff on alert overnight.
Torrents of ice swept through streets, trapping vehicles and motorists. Crews conducted numerous rescues in flooded basements and residential properties, as well as clearing operations on roads that were blocked by fallen trees and posts.
A tornado was also reported in the city, which uprooted trees and damaged buildings by tearing off roofings. Many vineyards were battered, as well as greenhouses and harvests.
According to the preliminary assessment by Coldiretti, the severe weather is shown to have caused extensive damage, mainly to agriculture in the region, worth millions of euros.
"The nets that were supposed to protect the fruit ready for harvest were devastated by the fury of the climate, which did not spare the grapes that were about to be picked," it said.
The farmers association noted that so far in August, there have been five hail and rainstorms a day "up and down the Italian peninsula, often destroying a whole year's worth of work in a few minutes."
On Monday, Veneto Governor Luca Zaia announced that a state of emergency has been declared for the provinces and cities of Verona, Padova, Vicenza, and Belluno, where the storm left "devastating" consequences.
Verona bore the brunt of the harsh weather, and is currently "on its knees," Zaia added.
No fatalities and injuries were reported.
Featured image credit: Blitz