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Tornado rips through Milan as Italy heatwave gives way to spectacular storms

Extreme temperatures of 47°C in Italy have given way to storms, with a destructive tornado tearing through the country’s northwest on Friday, battering buildings in a densely populated part of Milan.

It comes after days of unprecedentedly hot weather in Italy, which has seen tourists and locals sheltering indoors during the scorching daytime hours, popular sights deserted and British travellers cancelling trips to the country and fleeing baking hot hotels.

On Friday morning, firefighters were deployed to around 110 incidents in Cernusco sul Naviglio and Gessate in Lombardy, north east of Milan, after the tornado wreaked havoc in the region.

Italian weather site MeteoWeb reported that several people may have been injured, and the European Storm Forecast Experiment issued an “extremely bad” weather warning for the whole of Northern Italy, raising the maximum alert warning to residents.

The tornado barrelled through the city at around 11am local time (10am BST), according to local media.

The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined, but footage has captured roofs being ripped off homes, while some areas are affected by flooding and roads have been blocked by uprooted trees.

Video captured by bystanders shows debris whirling through the air and flashes of lightning illuminating the sky.

John Nairn, Senior Extreme Heat adviser at the World Meteorological Organisation, said the tornado had a “significant radar and satellite signature”.

Meanwhile in Treviso in northeastern Italy, hailstones larger than golf balls rained down on the city.

Some are estimated to be larger than 15cm wide, which could challenge European records if verified.

According to the Italy’s meteorological service in Seregno, Brianza, hail “whitened” one of the main squares, while in Ornago, the hail caused the wall of a local building to collapse.

The European Severe Weather Database estimates there have been 70 ice storms in Lombardy this July, and estimates the damage will “already amount to millions of euros between destroyed crops and ruined structures”.

Local media is reporting that the area between Alto and Basso Mantovano, was struck by ice blocks “bigger than a tennis ball” which smashed into fields of corn, soybeans, ripe tomatoes, watermelons, melons and pumpkins.

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