Extreme Weather Hits Italy
Severe storms that hit Italy for the past week have caused flooding and massive devastation across the European country. The disaster also led to the death of at least 20 people.
A powerful storm struck the northern part of the country, destroying thousands of hectares of forest. It is estimated that the damage has reached an amount of one billion euros (A$1.6 billion).
The southern part of the region was also hit by storms. Media reports say the storm pummeled the southern island of Sicily overnight on Saturday, killing nine people in Palermo after their villa was flooded by the swollen Milicia river.
Authorities consider this extreme weather condition that caused heavy flooding as the worst in decades. The civil protection agency described the weather as “one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years.”
Flooding in Venice and Florence
The havoc caused by the storms also led to severe flooding in Italy’s major tourist destinations.
Venice has been grappling and inundated by near-record flooding with water covering the mosaic floor of St Mark’s Basilica. In fact, an estimated 75% of Venice was submerged earlier in the week following high tides and torrential rains.
In Florence, strong winds have destroyed cypresses in the Boboli Gardens, forcing it to be temporarily closed to tourists.
According to media reports, a number of fatalities were cited across the country. In the northern part, two people were killed when a falling tree crushed their car in the mountainous countryside.
A German woman was hit by lighting during a storm on the Italian island of San Pietro, near the larger island of Sardinia.
Another person fell into a river in the Brescia region and was dragged under by the current.
In the Alto Adige region, in the north-east, an 81-year-old died after falling off the damaged roof of his Alpine cottage. In addition, 53-year-old whose car was hit by a falling tree died on Monday.