The flood triggered by a powerful storm engulfed the Sicilian city of Catania, killing at least two people.
On Tuesday, violent thunderstorms hit southern Italy for the third day, leaving the roads completely submerged in parts of the island of Sicily.
Catania’s dramatic video showed water gushing through the streets as floods engulfed the city.
Meteorologists say eastern Sicily was hit by a rare Mediterranean hurricane known as Medicane.
On Tuesday, the Civil Protection Department issued the most severe weather alert for parts of Sicily and neighboring Calabria.
The agency warned of the potential risk to life and property damage from heavy rain, thunderstorms and gale force winds in those areas.
Scientists say climate change caused by human activity is making extreme weather events more frequent and intense.
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The mayor of Catania, Salvo Pogliese, said that the eastern parts of Sicily are experiencing exceptional meteorological events “unprecedented” in their intensity.
Citing the “seriousness of the situation”, the mayor ordered the closure of all commercial activities in Catania with the exception of essential services until midnight on Tuesday.
“I urge the entire population not to leave the house except for emergency reasons, because the streets are flooded with water,” the mayor wrote on Facebook.
In #Sicily it has been raining for 3 days without stopping. This is the situation in #Catania, Now. My thoughts are there. Come on wonderful people ❤ pic.twitter.com/k7955Hz9SR
– Alex Milone (@AlexMilone) October 26, 2021
Italian media reported the death of a 53-year-old man who was found under a car after torrential rains swept the town of Gravina, north of Catania.
The death comes after the body of a 67-year-old man was found on Monday. Rescuers are still looking for his 54-year-old wife, who was overwhelmed with her husband by the flood in the municipality of Scordia, also near Catania, on Sunday.
The rain flooded the historic areas of Catania, transforming its via Etnea into a river and its squares into lakes.
A blackout left homes and businesses without electricity, while schools were closed in cities and neighboring villages.
According to the newspaper La Repubblica, the flood forced the evacuation of some buildings of the Garibaldi hospital in Catania.
“The emergency situation is widespread and extremely critical and does not appear to be improving,” a spokesperson for the fire brigade told Reuters news agency.
Italian weather site iLMeteo said the storm is expected to gradually worsen during the week, bringing stronger rains and floods on Thursday and Friday.
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