Thu, December 02, 2021


Rare and deadly cyclone sends cars floating through Italys streets

Floods sparked by days of heavy rainfall ravaged the Italian island of Sicily Tuesday, forcing evacuations and officials to issue a stay-at-home notice amid the severe weather which also swept the region of Calabria, in southwest Italy.

At least two people died as a powerful cyclonic storm dumped an estimated 300 mm (11.8 inches) of water - almost half the average amount of the island's expected annual rainfall - in just a few hours on Sunday and into Monday, the Sicilian Farmers' Association said.

According to experts, the extreme wet weather is a result of a rare "medicane," also known as a Mediterranean hurricane. Medicanes are typically smaller, and shorter in duration, than hurricanes, although they can still bring strong winds and torrential rain.

Italy's fire department said Monday that firefighters had carried out close to 600 flood rescues in 24 hours, carrying out 400 rescue missions in Sicily and 180 in Calabria.

Videos shared to social media highlighted the scale of the destruction: streets turned into rivers, abandoned vehicles almost entirely submerged in murky, fast-flowing waters.

"I urge the entire population to not leave home except for emergency reasons," the mayor of Catania, Salvo Pogliese, posted on Facebook, adding that streets were "overrun by water."

On Sunday, the Department for Civil Protection issued a red alert - the most severe weather warning - for parts of Sicily and Calabria warning of a threat to life and property.

The rising water, torrential winds and flooding also forced schools to close.

The wet weather continued into Wednesday, with forecasters predicting more rainfall throughout the week.

The scenes come following a summer of deadly floods across Europe, that wreaked havoc across communities from Germany to Belgium to the United Kingdom.

A recent study found that extreme flooding is set to increase as global temperatures rise.

This month, leaders will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for this year's global climate conference - but most of the world is already feeling the repercussions of their inaction - be it through intense heat waves, flooding or wildfires.

Published : October 28, 2021

By : The Washington Post