Flooding in Sicily with high winds bringing down trees

Flooding in the south, drought in the north

By Region Environment News The Islands

Farmers’ association Coldiretti again sounded the alarm about extreme weather in Italy. There has been flooding in southern Italy, whilst the north suffers from low precipitation levels which have badly hit water reserves. As a result, agriculture all over the country is having huge trouble as a consequence.

Coldiretti said data from the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD) showed Sicily experienced three extreme weather events in just one day on Thursday. They were a rain bomb in Siracusa, violent storms in the Cassaro area and gale-force winds in Catania.

In addition, heavy snowfalls caused huge problems in Vibo Valentia in Calabria.

As a result of the extreme weather, many fields are flooded, greenhouses have been damaged and trees have been knocked over. Farmers are having difficulty reaching, harvesting and moving their crops in many areas.

In the north, meanwhile, water supplies remain under stress after last year’s long drought, with precipitation levels down 40% in 2022.

Living and the dead affected in Catania

A landslide caused by torrential rain uncovered coffins and tombs at a cemetery near Catania on Friday.

The landslide hit the cemetery at Mineo, in the Catanese province. It caused small chapels and burial niches to slip away and be exposed.

“Our village is almost isolated,” said Mineo Mayor Giuseppe Mistretta. “We are only just managing to keep the provincial road 31 open, we risk being without water because of well failures, and dozens and dozens of families are currently out of reach. We are coordinating interventions with the prefecture of Catania.

“The cemetery? An area that has not withstood the rain and is difficult to reach has collapsed. For the moment we have to think about the living, then the dead”.

Levels of River Po and the northern big lakes are very low

As a result of the weather extremes, the level of River Po is very low, as are those big lakes of the north. Lake Garda is 35% full, Lake Maggiore is at 37% and Lake Como is down to 21%.

Scientists say that extreme weather events like the heat waves, supercharged storms, flooding and droughts are becoming more frequent and more intense because of climate change caused by human activity.

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