1 Dead as Medicane Swept Through Italy, Prompting Floods and Landslides

Nature

Local authorities blamed the cyclonic storm for at least one death on Monday, prompting flooding and landslides. And it’s possible that the worst is yet to come.

Flooding

(Photo : Getty Images)

Flash Flooding 

For days, a powerful storm system known as a “medicane” has wreaked havoc across southern Italy, and AccuWeather meteorologists believe the worst is yet to come.

The storm had already caused flash flooding and mudslides on Tuesday, and was even blamed for two deaths. According to Reuters, a 53-year-old man was discovered under his car in Gravina, Italy, after heavy rains soaked the region.

Another 67-year-old man’s body was also recovered on Monday in Catania, Italy, after his car was stucked as a result of the mud and rising floodwaters. According to Reuters, the man’s wife has also gone missing.

On Tuesday, other parts of Catania, a port city on Sicily’s east coast, were also underwater. Cars, vans, and city buses were seen attempting to maneuver through floodwaters and abandoning waves of water in their wake near a popular piazza in videos shared on social media.

According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Catania’s Garibaldi hospital was forced to evacuate a few select buildings as a result of the flooding.

Also Read: Flooding Concerns on the Rise in Southeast as Tropical Rainfall Intensifies

Medicane

Medicane is an informal term for a non-tropical storm that moves across the Mediterranean Sea and develops tropical characteristics as it grows stronger over the warm water. Medicane is derived from the words “Mediterranean” and “hurricane.”

Early this week, the current storm made landfall in the Mediterranean Sea. Rain began to fall in certain parts of Sicily as early as Sunday, but the region’s heavy rains began on Monday for many in both Sicily and Calabria.

According to Reuters, roughly 11.8 inches of rain fell in Catania over many hours on Sunday, said Sicily’s farmer’s organization. This is roughly half of the island’s annual rainfall average.

As it keeps churning northward at a snail’s pace, the storm dropped some wind energy late Monday but is expected to regain it by midweek. Regardless of the storm’s final severity, heavy rain will continue to be a major effect on parts of Italy.

Rainfall quantities of 2-4 inches (50-100 mm) are likely to fall throughout the majority of Sicily and southern Calabria, with 1-2 inches (25-50 mm) predicted for the rest of the province.

The storm’s greatest rainfall will be concentrated over the eastern Sicilian coast and far southern Calabria, according to forecasters.

Rainfall

(Photo : Getty Images)

Impact on Residents

4-8 inches (100-200 mm) of rain will fall across eastern Sicily and the far southern point of Calabria through Friday, with an AccuWeather Local StormMaxTM of 12 inches (300 mm), according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Tony Zartman.

Any extra rain will increase the current water problems in southern Italy. Days of persistent rain in hilly places may weaken the soil and cause more landslides.

Residents who live in lower-elevation locations or flood-prone zones, according to forecasters, should have an emergency plan in place in case evacuations are required. Floodwaters can rise quickly, particularly if flood-control systems are already overburdened.

As the storm intensifies towards midweek, windy conditions may occur in addition to the heavy rain.

From Wednesday through Friday, wind gusts up to 60 mph (100 km/h) are expected across Sicily and Calabria, with an AccuWeather Local StormMaxTM of 80 mph (130 km/h).

By the weekend, this week’s medicane is expected to move away from southern Italy, giving the waterlogged region a chance to dry off.

Related Article: 33 Dead as Heavy Rains and Flooding Turned Streets and Subways into Rushing Rivers in China

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