mercoledì 24 settembre 2014

Severe weather pelts Venice with hail, heavy rains

Ship tossed by storm batters smaller boats in Ancona harbor

(ANSA) - Venice, September 23 - Blankets of hailstones covered Venice in white and heavy rainfall flooded basements and streets in the historic floating city, one of several Italian centres hit hard by severe autumn weather. Tides in the Adriatic raised the water levels in Venice by as much as one meter late Monday night with rain continuing Tuesday, triggering hundreds of calls for help from fire brigades and city officials. As much as 80 cm of rain was expected Tuesday.

In nearby Trevignano, police divers searched for a woman who a passerby said had fallen into high water as the harsh weather was reported throughout the Veneto region. Further south in Ancona, winds gusting over 50 knots caused a ship to snap its moorings and batter at least six smaller fishing vessels tied nearby. The fishing boats all sank and no injuries were reported. Further down the Adriatic coast, Bari's Coast Guard issued a gale-force wind warning late Monday and several fishing boats reportedly returned to safety in port. According to weather watchers at website, Monday night also brought strong winds to the Romagna area, reaching as high as 95 kilometers per hour (km-hr) in Bellaria on the coast and averaging about 40 km-hr in Bologna.

Violent storms were reported closer to the coast including Cesenatico, about 30 kilometers south of Ravenna, where winds reached as high as 69 km-hr. Italian weather has recently been violent. A wave of tornado-force winds and heavy rains pelted parts of Tuscany Friday, leaving a trail of injuries, uprooted trees, and damaged buildings in its wake.

Florence's Uffizi Gallery was briefly shut down for damage checks Friday after sudden heavy rains and hail caused flash floods in the Tuscan city and surrounding areas. The city's other museums including those of Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Davanzati, and San Marco were also temporarily closed for damage checks, officials said. 

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