Italy bracing for flood risks in north, heatwaves in south

  • IANS
  • World News
Italy bracing for flood risks in north, heatwaves in south
Credit: © Reuters.

Rome, Nov 2 (IANS) Italy has been bracing for the latest round of extreme weather, with heavy rains and potential flooding forecast for large parts of central and northern Italy. Meanwhile, high temperatures were predicted in the south.Italian civil protection officials on Wednesday said that two thunderstorm systems would be moving over the country this week, resulting in red alerts for flooding in the northeastern regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Orange alerts have been issued across large parts of northwestern and central Italy, including Milan, Xinhua news agency reported.

The coming thunderstorms are likely to spark floods that could close roads, interrupt commercial and passenger sea transport, and damage crops. The forecast comes after several days of heavy rainfall over much of northern Italy.

Additionally, the canal city of Venice has been repeatedly threatened by sea levels up to 1.54 meters above normal levels, but significant damage was averted due to the city's high-tech flood barriers.

In the south, October saw unseasonal high temperatures surpassing 35 degrees Celsius on multiple occasions. In Sicily, although October temperatures were cooler than the all-time high recorded in July and August, the averages in some parts of the island were nearly ten degrees higher than historical norms, local reports said.

The weather in Sicily has also been unusually dry and multiple wildfires were reported this week, following widespread fires throughout the long and dry summer.

Italian agricultural union Coldiretti said earlier this week that the high temperatures in August and the predicted thunderstorms were bad news for the agricultural sector. The olive harvest, which this year suffered from a one-third reduction due to the hot and dry summer, could see low production again next year due to the extreme weather in fall and winter.

The agricultural group said that repeated bouts of unpredictable weather this year have reduced wheat production by a tenth, while cherry production was 60 percent lower than normal, and the honey harvest was 70 percent below last year's levels.

Over the last 18 months, Italy has suffered from a string of extreme weather events, ranging from record-high temperatures and drought in the summer months of 2022 and 2023, to wildfires, floods, landslides, hail and severe winds.

--IANS

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