Extreme weather in Italy has killed at least three people as violent storms swept across the north of the country while wildfires in the south forced an airport to close for several hours.
A heatwave in southern Europe has left Italy battling scorching temperatures that bring increased risk of fires and deaths, along with torrential rain and strong winds that are tearing off roofs and uprooting trees.
A 16-year-old girl was killed after being hit by a falling tree in a scout camp in Codegolo, in Val Camonica in the northern Brescia province, Italy’s Rai News reported.
It came after a 58-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree in the northern Monza province on Monday.
In Milan, where an overnight storm has flooded houses, destroyed cars, blocked roads and cut the power supply in some areas, the city’s Mayor, Giuseppe Sala, said: “I have been through 65 summers in my lifetime, and what I am seeing now is not normal.
“We can no longer deny it, climate change is changing our lives.”
Milan and much of the surrounding area remained under an orange weather warning for thunderstorms on Tuesday, after being battered by gusts reaching 100 km/h (62 mph), according to local reports.
“It looks like the Apocalypse,” said one social media user, who shared a video capturing the howling wind and lightning during the pre-dawn storm in Milan.
The northern Lombardy region has been pummelled by several storms with hail the size of tennis balls.
On Monday, a New York-bound flight from Milan’s Malpensa airport had to divert to Rome shortly after take-off when the aircraft was damaged in a hailstorm.
The south of the country, meanwhile, is still enduring a heatwave as more than a dozen cities remained on red alert for high temperatures on Tuesday.
These include Palermo and Catania in Sicily, where temperatures were expected to reach 44°C and 46°C respectively, according to the Italian Meteorological Service.
The airport in Palermo was temporarily closed for a few hours on Tuesday as firefighters tackled a major blaze in a nearby area that also disrupted road and rail traffic.
The blaze, which started near the town of Cinisi, reached the edge of the Falcone Borsellino airport, forcing authorities to halt all air traffic until 11am.
Regional authorities said an 88-year-old woman died in the San Martino delle Scale area west of Palermo after an ambulance could not reach her home due to the fire, Italy’s Ansa news agency reported.