Two People Dead from Flooding as Southern Italy Braces for Rare Mediterranean Hurricane

Southern Italy was braced on Wednesday for the arrival of what forecasters have described as a Medicane – a rare Mediterranean hurricane bringing winds of more than 100kmh and producing 5-metre waves.

Fierce storms have battered Sicily for days, leaving roads submerged in the eastern part of the island and claiming the lives of at least two people. Video footage shows flood waters engulfing the city of Catania, turning streets into rivers and squares into lakes.

Italy’s department for civil protection issued its most severe weather warning for Sicily and Calabria on Tuesday, as Italian authorities confirmed the death of a 53-year-old man who drowned in Gravina, a town north of Catania. The death comes after the body of a 67-year-old man was found on Monday in Scordia. Rescuers are still searching for his 54-year-old wife.

On Tuesday, Catania’s mayor, Salvo Pogliese, called the weather events “unprecedented” and ordered the closure of all businesses.

“I urge the entire population to not leave home except for emergency reasons, because roads are overrun by water,” he said on Facebook.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Lorenzo Tondo