Four dead as storms, floods and tornadoes wreak havoc across northern and central Italy

High winds, tornadoes and giant hail: extreme weather hit many parts of Italy's north and centre-north this weekend, leaving at least four holidaymakers dead and causing widespread damage. Weather alerts continue over the coming days.

Four dead as storms, floods and tornadoes wreak havoc across northern and central Italy
File photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Severe weather has been reported over the weekend everywhere  from South Tyrol down to the central region of Lazio around Rome, with at least four people killed in two separate incidents, and several reported missing.

In Tuscany, two girls aged three and 14 were reportedly killed on Saturday night when a tornado reportedly uprooted a tree which hit their tent at a campsite in Marina di Massa.

Two German tourists were killed on Sunday night during severe flooding on the Brenner state road near Bolzano, South Tyrol, the Ansa news agency reports. A family car collided with a lorry, killing two of the passengers; a 45-year-old father and 67-year-old grandmother. A seven-year-old boy and his grandfather reportedly survived, while the lorry driver was unhurt. 

The vehicles had been diverted onto the local road when the motorway was closed due to storms. The motorway has now reopened on Monday, however train lines in the area remain closed.

A 38-year-old man has been reported missing in the Varese area after being swept away by a swollen river.

The city of Verona is bracing for further flooding after being hit by multiple waves of bad weather since August 23rd, with high winds and giant hailstones also causing considerable damage in the area.

Severe damage was reported across much of the Veneto region, with the Vicenza and Belluno areas also hit particularly hard. The famed ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo in Belluno suffered landslides due to strong winds and heavy rain.

In the Vicenza area of Veneto a tromba d'aria (small tornado) flattened trees, fences and road signs and damaged buildings.

The bad weather reached neighbouring Lombardy with hailstones “the size of eggs” reported in Cremona and Mantova, and heavy rain and flooding in Alessandria.

And in Bergamo, firefighters had to clear roads made impassable by severe hail.

Meanwhile in parts of the south, fire crews have been battling blazes in woods and scrubland from southern Tuscany and Marche to Sicily after a hot, dry summer. 
Italy's Civl Protection department continued to issue weather warnings on Monday with orange (level two) alerts in place for Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Lazio.
Lower-level yellow alerts were also issued for Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy and Tuscany.
With the wave of bad weather expected to spread south over Monday and Tuesday, yellow alerts were also issued for the regions of Abruzzo, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Molise, Puglia, Sicily, Tuscany and Umbria on Monday.


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Storm Otto to batter western Sweden from Friday afternoon

Storm Otto is due to hit the west coast of Sweden on Friday afternoon, reaching its peak in the evening and night with winds of between 27 and 31 metres per second, just short of hurricane strength. 

Storm Otto to batter western Sweden from Friday afternoon

Swedish weather forecaster SMHI has issued an orange warning for northwest Skåne, southwest Kronoberg, western Halland and southwest Bohuslän, warning that buildings could be damaged, and trees blown down over roads and power lines. 

“There’s going to be about three to five hours when it will be at its absolute worst,” Therese Fogman, one of SMHI’s forecasters, told the TT newswire.

People living in western Sweden are being asked to tie down any loose objects in their gardens and to be careful when going outside. 

“You should be aware that there could be branches falling and objects blowing around in this wind,” Fogman said. 

Several train services in Skåne, Halland and Västra Götaland have been suspended on Friday and Saturday. SMHI is warning that buildings and forests could be damaged. 

All services are suspended between Helsingborg and Eslöv from 4pm, from Ystad to Simrishamn from 6pm, from Markaryd to Hässleholm from 8pm, and from Kristianstad to Karlskrona from 8.20pm. 

From 4pm, all train services between Uddevalla and Strömstad, Öxnered and Borås, Håkantorp and Gårdsjö, and Borås to Varberg.

Services will resume on all these lines from 12pm on Saturday.