By Laura Gozzi
Sicily burns as hail and rain hits the northern part of Italy
Italy’s extreme weather conditions have affected the country from North to South.
After weeks of high temperatures in Sicily, local media have warned that Palermo was “encircled” with fires.
In the north, violent storms and strong winds have uprooted many trees and lifted roofs.
Some places, hailstones larger than tennis balls have caused damage to cars and crops.
In Brescia a girl of 16 years old was killed after a tree fell onto her tent. While in Lissone north of Milan a woman, aged about 40, died from a falling tree hitting her tent.
In Milan, torrential downpours and winds of up to 100km/h were experienced overnight. Residents were warned to avoid public parks in Milan on Tuesday because of the risk that branches could snap off trees.
Due to weather-related damage, Tuesday the Sforza Castle (15th Century) in the city had been closed.
Giuseppe Sala of the City of Naples said, “I had never witnessed anything like it…We can no longer deny that climate change is changing lives.”
M. Sala, in a recent Facebook video, said that “we cannot pretend it does not exist or keep doing nothing.”
Due to the heatwave which has lasted for a long time in Sicily now wildfires threaten cities and towns across the whole island. Catania recorded temperatures of 47.5C on Monday.
Island resorts, tourist attractions and hotspots are evacuating all their guests.
On Tuesday, after the wildfires around Palermo Airport had reached its perimeter, the airport’s airspace was temporarily shut down.
The fires that ravaged southern Italy left two dead bodies in a Palermo home.
An 88 year old woman who had fallen ill after being exposed to the fires on Sicily died.
Calabria: A bedridden 98-year old man lost his life when wildfires reached the home.
Firefighter dies after stroke in Sardinia. He spent hours fighting a fire.
The fires that started near Palermo were fueled by high winds, leading to a serious injury for a firefighter.
In Palermo, the heat wave has caused over 200 patients to seek treatment for smoke-inhalation. The two hospitals in Palermo have cancelled routine appointments to allow people with smoke-inhalation symptoms be treated.
Due to the consistently high temperatures of Palermo’s buses, they have been forced to suspend half their network.
Some wards of the Hospital Cervello in the northern part of the city have been evacuated because the fires.
Coldiretti said Sicily faces an “unprecedented environmental catastrophe”.
Nello Musumeci (Minister for Civil Protection) wrote on Facebook that “this is the worst day in Italian history.” Climate change requires that we change. No choice.
Giorgia Meloni said on Italian radio RTL102.5 that “we knew today would the most difficult day.” Canadair cannot be used because of the wind and high temperatures.
We are constantly monitoring the delicate situation. “.
Giulio Betti, a leading climate and weather expert in Italy, says that heatwaves in southern Italy and storms in northern Italy are both “two sides” of the same coin.
Betti stated that due to the combination of Atlantic and African air in the Northern regions, they were perfect for breeding storms.
This year’s heatwaves are notable for their intensity, duration, and frequency.
Multiple regions have declared a state-of-emergency.
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