Catania, 5 October 2021 – A violent tornado accompanied by rain and hail it hit around 3.30 pm in the historic center of Catania causing serious damage to homes and businesses as well as some minor injuries. Several uprooted trees and fallen street lamps. Ring road in tilt due to the presence of trees on the pavement. Called 118, firefighters and municipal and regional civil protection for rescue interventions. This is what we read on Fb page of the Municipality that “recommends to citizens to pay close attention and to do not leave the house except for reasons of urgency. “As the hours go by, the situation improves but only slightly and to allow for structural checks, also considering an upcoming violent disturbance, the schools will remain closed tomorrow.
Three foreign athletes who participated in an international canoe-polo tournament at the port of Catania while a violent storm struck the city were rescued and transferred to hospital for a principle of hypothermia. Considerable damage was done to the reception facilities of the sporting event and to the competition fields in the water. The athletes were transferred by an Air Force bus to the Old Customs facility and then transferred to the hotel.
Six volunteers of the Misericordia of Catania who were carrying out assistance activities in the infirmary set up in the port for the sporting event were also injured. The six were slightly injured due to the strong wind that knocked down the field structure. They were taken to the emergency room of the Cannizzaro hospital with slight bruises. One volunteer has a suspected humerus fracture, a second a knee injury. “I hope for a speedy recovery of the volunteers who were injured during today’s adverse weather events – said the president of the Committee, Alfredo Distefano – I thank you for the service that every day all the volunteers of the Misericordie perform for the community and are also close to the Misericordia di Nicolosi who suffered serious damage to a disabled vehicle “.
There were several sports facilities damaged in Catania and its province by bad weather: in the city sports fields, including private ones, and in Cannizzaro, a hamlet of Aci Castello, the roof of the PalaCannizzaro was completely ripped off. Several streets flooded like rivers in Catania, as in via Domenico Tempio, and uprooted trees, as on the service axis. The police, civil, regional and municipal protection, and the firefighters are heavily involved in the rescue.
Rescue on Etna
In the afternoon, while severe bad weather raged on Etna, a Sass technician noticed a car parked in the square of Piano Provenzana and after having alerted the station he belonged to three French tourists caught by the storm in the area of the ski lifts. The three, without adequate clothing, cold and frightened by the violence of bad weather, were in good health. Previously, however, a man had been taken ill while walking with his son the paths in the area of the Citelli refuge, on the north side of the volcano. The hiker was taken out of the inaccessible area on a stretcher and entrusted to the 118 health workers, to be transported by helicopter to the emergency room of the Cannizzaro hospital in Catania.
In Catania and its province they are 95 interventions waiting of the Fire Brigade. The provincial command announces that “staff in service are being retained, including the Diving Unit of Catania”. A reinforcement team from the VVF Command of Messina is also arriving in the city.
Schools closed tomorrow in Catania to allow checks on schools and city buildings. Mayor Salvo Pogliese announced it on Facebook. “After the terrible, and unexpected, atmospheric phenomenon of today I decided – said the mayor – in agreement with the Prefect, to order the closure of schools of all levels in the city, of the municipal parks and of the cemetery, to allow you to check the damage to buildings, public and private, to roads, parks and wherever needed. We are already at work with the Maintenance Department and the Civil Protection, but the scenario in all the neighborhoods is very heavy. The rain and the violent wind have uncovered roofs, caused the fall of trees, ripped up lighting poles, causing enormous damage “.
Yellow alert for bad weather tomorrow throughout Sicily. The regional civil protection department has issued a warning of “meteo-hydrogeological and hydraulic risk” for thunderstorms, valid from this afternoon to 24 tomorrow 6 October. The warning foresees “scattered precipitations, also of a downpour or thunderstorm”. Winds will be tending to “strong or stormy” from the north on the Tyrrhenian sectors, and tending to “locally strong south-west on the Ionian sectors”. The seas are very rough, especially the Ionian and the western basins. Bad weather has already arrived in Sicily today, hitting Palermo in the morning and Catania in the afternoon, with a stronger intensity.
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Bad weather in Italy
The bad weather also had an impact on the airport where four incoming flights were diverted to other airports, two of which in Palermo and one in Bari. There were numerous calls for intervention to the operations room of the single number 112 for flooding and damage to buildings, torn roofs and streets blocked by fallen trees and stranded drivers. The violent storm also hit several towns in the Catania area, and in particular Etna. In Nicolosi a tree, in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, fell, damaging a means of transport for the disabled belonging to the Misericordia association.
Catania is only the last of the areas of Italy affected by bad weather. In one day only 20 extreme events hit the peninsula including storms, tornadoes, hailstorms, wind storms and water bombs which have caused damage in cities and in the countryside.
This is what emerges from the Coldiretti monitoring on the effects of the latest wave of bad weather that hit Italy from North to South, based on data from the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD).
The hardest hit – underlines the Coldiretti – is the region Liguria where almost all of the storms were concentrated, which also struck from Lombardy to Piedmont, from Lazio to Campania, from Sicily to Sardinia. “An abrupt arrival of autumn which – underlines Coldiretti – has devastated fields, pastures, stables and agricultural vehicles as well as blocking roads and causing landslides and landslides in the countryside”. Climate change with increasingly intense and frequent rainfall with real water bombs in fact hit a territory made more fragile by overbuilding and abandonment with the result that the Italian municipalities have risen to 7252, or 91, 3% of the total, which are at risk of landslides and / or floods but the percentage rises to 100% precisely in Liguria according to Coldiretti elaborations on Ispra data. “We are facing – underlines Coldiretti – the consequences of climate change also in Italy where the exceptional nature of atmospheric events is now the norm, with a tendency to tropicalization that manifests itself with larger hail, a higher frequency of violent events , seasonal delays, short and intense rainfall and the rapid transition from the sun to bad weather, which also compromise crops in the fields with estimated costs that have already exceeded two billion this year between losses of national agricultural production and damage to structures and infrastructures In the countryside To tackle the damage caused by climate change – concludes Coldiretti – increasingly advanced, effective and less bureaucratic structural interventions and risk management tools are needed, but above all a commitment to curb climate change.
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