ROME, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — At least six people died, one is missing and several were injured due to a wave of adverse weather that has been battering Italy since the weekend, local media and rescue services reported on Monday.
The Atlantic storm front brought torrential rains that caused flooding as rivers rose up and down the Mediterranean peninsula, while winds of up to 149 km/h uprooted trees, signage, and wind turbines, and authorities ordered some areas evacuated as tornadoes whipped up churning seas that invaded coastal areas.
Three people were killed by trees that fell on their cars: one in the southern city of Terracina, where a tornado tore through the city center and left at least two people seriously injured, and two in the central city of Frosinone, according to RAI public broadcaster and to firefighters on Twitter.
A woman died in a small town near the northwestern city of Savona after she was hit by flying debris churned up by a tornado, which also tore up some lamp-posts, and a 21-year-old engineering student died after being crushed by a tree while walking to school in Naples, Italian news agency ANSA and La Repubblica newspaper reported.
One person was killed by a tree uprooted by a tornado near the city of Belluno in the northeastern Veneto region, private broadcaster TGcom24 and Corriere del Veneto newspaper reported.
Authorities are still searching for a man who went missing in heavy seas Sunday on his sailboat off the coastal city of Catanzaro in the Calabria region in the tip of Italy’s boot, firefighters tweeted.
The Civil Protection Agency said in a statement that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has signed an extraordinary mobilization order for the Veneto region where Venice is located, allowing the Agency to coordinate mobile columns from Italy’s other regions plus the national volunteer corps “in response to exceptionally critical situations”.
Veneto Governor Luca Zaia has declared a state of emergency and shut schools down Monday and Tuesday in the region, where 110,000 people are reported without electricity and residents in various towns and cities, both in the mountains and in the plains, have been advised to get away from bodies of water and to evacuate ground-floor apartments due to violent high-altitude storms that are expected to cause rivers to flood low-lying areas during the night between Monday and Tuesday, reported Corriere del Veneto, the regional edition of Corriere della Sera paper.
Schools were also shut down in Rome, where a firefighter chief was injured by debris while in action, and in the nearby coastal cities of Ostia and Latina, where RAI reported several people were injured, two of them seriously, in a tornado that destroyed shops and seaside facilities and tore roofs off warehouses.
Also in the North, the access road to Milan’s Linate Airport was blocked by a fallen tree, causing passengers to get out and walk to the terminals, and a ceiling at the city’s prestigious Polytechnic University caved in during class, fortunately leaving the students unharmed, according to footage shown on Sky TG24 private broadcaster.
The Civil Protection Agency has issued a red alert across Italy’s northern regions and an orange alert in many southern and central regions for Tuesday. Red and orange alerts are the top two out of four levels, and both warn against possible loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure from critical events such as storms.
At least 16.6 percent of Italy’s territory, equal to 50,000 square kilometers, is at high risk of landslides and floods during adverse weather, according to the Superior Institute for Environmental Protection (ISPRA).