Sicilian Cyclone: drops a year’s rain in 48 hours and kills at least two people as roads are submerged after four-day storm
At least two people have died after a cyclone battered the Italian island of Sicily and dropped a year’s worth of rainwater in just 48 hours, leaving many streets flooded.
Footage shows roads submerged under raging flood water and roads and buildings being left overwhelmed after almost 20 inches of rain fell in just 48 hours.
A red alert warning had been issued for the northern tip of Sicily and Calabria in southern Italy.
So far, the extreme weather has claimed the lives of at least two people. One victim, a 53-year-old man, died after being swept away in Gravina, north of Catania, reports news agency Ansa.
The man’s body was found beneath a car on Tuesday by volunteers after torrential rains swept through the area.
Meanwhile, the body of a second victim, a 67-year-old man, was found by workers on Sunday near the Sicilian town of Scordia, and his 54-year-old wife is reportedly still missing.
One video, shared on social media, showed the fish market in Catania, on Sicily’s eastern coast, submerged in floodwater, with more water streaming down from higher ground onto the market, flooding buildings and shops.
Alessia Gaffuri, who filmed the clip, said: ‘Today my city was submerged by bad weather and it was difficult for all of us to leave the house.
‘There were some missing people, who unfortunately lost their lives.’
Salvo Pogliese, the mayor of port city Catania, has closed all schools and businesses and advised against going outside unless it is urgent.
He said: ‘It’s obvious to everyone how the city is faced with a tragedy and almost unprecedented atmospheric phenomena.
‘Nobody likes to close schools, but exceptional situations are responded with exceptional decisions.’
Overnight, Italy’s national fire department reported that 620 rescue missions had been carried out by 186 firefighters – and yesterday, firefighters had carried out 300 rescues on cars stuck in the floods in Catania.
Other videos have shown a group of people rescuing a man trapped underneath his car on a highway in Catania.
Rows of abandoned cars can be seen and in the midst, a group of people desperately trying to tilt a submerged car over.