Catania, October 5, 2021 – a violent tornado accompanied by rain and hail it struck the historic center of Catania around 3:30 p.m., causing serious damage to homes and businesses and some minor injuries. Several uprooted trees and fallen street lamps. Ring road in slope due to the presence of trees on the sidewalk. Called 118, Fire Department and Municipal and Regional Civil Defense for rescue interventions. This is what we read next FB page of the municipality that “recommends to” citizens pay close attention and don’t leave the house except for urgent reasons. “As the hours go by, the situation improves only slightly and in order to allow for structural checks, also given an imminent violent disorder, schools will remain closed tomorrow.
Three foreign athletes who participated in an international canoe polo tournament in the port of Catania while a violent storm hit the city, were rescued and taken to hospital due to a principle of hypothermia. Significant damage was caused to the sporting event’s reception facilities and to the in-water competition fields. The athletes were taken by an Air Force bus to the Old Customs facility and then taken to the hotel.
Six volunteers from the Misericordia of Catania who provided assistance in the infirmary set up in the port for the sporting event were also injured. The six were slightly injured by the high winds that toppled the field structure. They were taken to the emergency room at Cannizzaro Hospital with minor bruises. One volunteer has a suspected humeral fracture, a second a knee injury. “I hope for a speedy recovery of the volunteers injured in today’s adverse weather conditions – said Committee president Alfredo Distefano – thank you for the service that all the volunteers of the Misericordie provide to the community every day and are also close to the Misericordia di Nicolosi who suffered serious damage to a disabled vehicle”.
Several sports facilities were damaged in Catania and the province due to bad weather: on the sports fields of the city, also private, and in Cannizzaro, a hamlet of Aci Castello, the roof of the PalaCannizzaro was completely lifted. 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 fire service are heavily involved in the rescue.
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 warning the station to which it belonged three French tourists swept by the storm in the ski lift area. The three, without adequate clothing, cold and afraid of the violence of the bad weather, were in good health. Earlier, however, a man had fallen ill while hiking the trails with his son in the area of the Citelli hut, on the north side of the volcano. The hiker was taken from the inaccessible area on a stretcher and entrusted to the 118 health workers, to be transported to the emergency room of Cannizzaro Hospital in Catania.
In Catania and the province they are 95 interventions waiting from the fire brigade. The provincial command announces that “staff on duty will be retained, including the Catania diving unit”. A reinforcement team from the VVF command of Messina also arrives in the city.
Schools closed tomorrow in Catania to enable checks on schools and city buildings. Mayor Salvo Pogliese announced this on Facebook. “After today’s terrible and unexpected atmospheric phenomenon, I – said the mayor – in consultation with the Prefect have decided to order the closure of schools of all levels in the city, of the city parks and of the cemetery, so that you can avoid the damage buildings, public and private, on roads, parks and where necessary.We are already working with the Maintenance and Civil Protection department, but the scenario in all neighborhoods is very tough. The rain and strong winds have roofs exposed, trees dropped, light poles torn and massive damage done”.
Yellow alert for bad weather tomorrow across Sicily. The Regional Civil Protection Department has issued a “meteo-hydrogeological and hydraulic risk” warning for thunderstorms, valid from this afternoon until tomorrow, Oct. 6. The warning foresees “scattered precipitation, including from a downpour or thunderstorm”. Winds tend to be “strong or gale” from the north on the Tyrrhenian sectors, and “locally strong to the southwest on the Ionian sectors”. The seas are very rough, especially the Ionian and western basins. The bad weather has already arrived in Sicily today, hitting Palermo in the morning and Catania in the afternoon, with a stronger intensity.
Bad weather also impacted the airport, where four inbound flights were diverted to other airports, two in Palermo and one in Bari. There were numerous calls for intervention to the operating room of the only 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 area of Catania, and in particular Mount Etna. In Nicolosi, a tree fell, in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, damaging a means of transport for the disabled belonging to the Misericordia association.
Catania is just the last of the areas of Italy to be hit by bad weather. In in one day, only 20 extreme events hit the peninsula, including storms, tornadoes, hailstorms, windstorms and water bombs that have caused damage in urban and rural areas.
This is evidenced by Coldiretti’s monitoring of 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 heaviest blow – underlines the Coldiretti – is the region Liguria where almost all 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 – Coldiretti underlines – devastated fields, pastures, stables and agricultural vehicles, blocking roads and causing landslides and landslides in the countryside”. Climate change with increasingly intense and frequent rainfall with real water bombs actually hit an area that has become more vulnerable to overbuilding and abandonment, with the result that the number of Italian municipalities has risen to 7252, or 91.3% of the total, at risk landslides and / or floods, but the percentage rises to 100% exactly in Liguria according to Coldiretti elaborations on Ispra data. “We are facing – underlines Coldiretti – the consequences of climate change, including in Italy, where the exceptional nature of atmospheric events is now the norm, with a tendency towards tropical temperatures manifesting with greater hail, a higher frequency of violent events, seasonal delays, short and intense rainfall and the rapid transition of the sun to bad weather, which also endanger crops in the fields with estimated costs already exceeding two billion this year, between losses of national agricultural production and damage to structures and rural infrastructure Tackling the damage caused by climate change – Coldiretti concludes – requires increasingly sophisticated, more effective and less bureaucratic structural interventions and risk management tools, but above all a commitment to curb climate change.
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