Heavy rains leave widespread devastation on Sicily; two killed
Heavy rains left widespread devastation on Sicily on Monday, 25 October 2021.The body of a 67-year-old man who was carried away by a flooded river was found in an orange grove in Sicily. Rescuers were still searching for the man's wife in the town of Scordia, near Catania in Sicily, on Sunday. Fire fighters said the couple's car was dragged two kilometres in two metres of water, which had been caused by torrential rains. The downpour in southern Italy flooded roads, blocking cars and trapping people in their homes. Aircraft flying to the Sicilian airports of Catania and Palermo were diverted to other airports, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. Fire fighters have hundreds of rescue operations in Sicily, many to help people trapped in homes and cars.
Fierce storms continued to batter southern Italy for a third day on Tuesday, leaving roads completely submerged in parts of the island of Sicily. Dramatic video from Catania showed water gushing through the streets as floods engulfed the city. Forecasters say eastern Sicily is being hit by a rare Mediterranean hurricane, known as a Medicane.
Italy's Department for Civil Protection issued its most severe weather warning for parts of Sicily and neighbouring Calabria on Tuesday. The agency warned of potential risk to life and damage to property from heavy rain, thunderstorms and gale force winds in those areas.
Scientists say climate change caused by human activity is making extreme weather events more frequent and intense.
The mayor of Catania, Salvo Pogliese, said eastern parts of Sicily were experiencing exceptional weather events "unprecedented" in their intensity. Citing the "seriousness of the situation", the mayor ordered the closure of all businesses in Catania except essential services until midnight on Tuesday.
The rain has deluged historic parts of Catania, turning its Via Etnea high street into a river and its squares into lakes.
Flooding submerges streets in Catania
A blackout has left homes and businesses without electricity, while schools have been closed in the city and nearby towns.
La Repubblica newspaper said flooding forced the evacuation of some buildings belonging to Catania's Garibaldi Hospital.
"The emergency situation is widespread and extremely critical and it does not seem to be improving," a spokesman for the fire service said.
Italian weather website iLMeteo said the storm was expected to gradually worsen throughout the week, bringing more heavy rains and flooding on Thursday and Friday.
Source: Euro News, BBC