Sicily President Nello Musumeci confirmed the deaths and said a third person was missing late Tuesday, while Catania city mayor urged residents to stay home if possible.
“We went through two very difficult days. We went through dramatic hours,” Mayor Salvo Pogliese said in a video posted on his Facebook page. He said the weather was “definitely better” on Wednesday, but warned that the forecast for Thursday and Friday remained “particularly worrying”.
Red warnings have been issued for Wednesday and Thursday on the island of Sicily and the region containing the city of Catania, which has already been hit by adverse weather throughout the week.
According to climatic data in the nearby city of Catania, “Medicane” – a hurricane-like storm system that formed over the Mediterranean Sea – has rained a year worth of rain in the Linguaglossa region in the space of two days.
The storm is forecast to last around this area until the weekend, with more rainfall. Schools and non-essential shops and offices have been ordered to remain closed until Friday in Catania.
More than 600 rescue operations have been carried out in Catania over the past day, the interior ministry said in a press release on Wednesday.
“The event is not over. Now there is a moment of calm, but our weather patterns tell us it will be back. Complicated hours await us in the area. We expect a significant deterioration from Thursday to Friday,” the head of Civil Defense said. . said Fabrizio Curcio at a press conference in Catania.
Regional Governor Nello Mosumeci described the situation as “very critical” and described the first scenes across Catania and its province as “cruel”.
“Roads have turned into streams” and “countryside into lakes, entire isolated neighborhoods and hundreds of flooded houses, incalculable damage to buildings and crops: Eastern Sicily is experiencing a phenomenon that, unfortunately, we fear will “to be less and less sporadic, with tragic scenarios destined to be repeated,” he said on his official Facebook page on Tuesday.
Medicanes occur about twice a year, usually between September and December.
This system is not expected to threaten the G20 talks in Rome, but adds further urgency to the ongoing efforts of some countries to engage the world towards the tougher climate change objectives.
As the Earth’s atmosphere warms, it can retain more moisture, which is why the world is experiencing the largest rainfall eruptions it has historically had. But the climate crisis is also creating longer periods of drought or drought, which leaves the soil and the soil so dry that it cannot absorb rain as effectively as usual. This combination makes floods more likely and often more devastating.
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