Several Italian cities in the northern Lake Como region were hit by floods and landslides on Tuesday, which an agricultural organization said are examples of extreme weather phenomena that have intensified in recent years.
Firefighters have been called to more than 60 cases around Lake Como, which is surrounded by mountains, to respond to isolated people, residents trapped by landslides or housing units threatened by flooding.
“In Italy we are seeing the consequences of climate change, with a tendency towards equatoriality and the proliferation of extreme events,” said that organization, called Coldiretti, which cited the most frequent, sudden and violent storms, the intensity and shortness of rain and sudden lane changes from sunny skies to bad weather.
The situation around Lake Como comes a day after hail the size of tennis balls damaged more than 100 vehicles and disrupted traffic on a motorway near Bologna, northern Italy.
Despite the prevalence of hailstorms in the Po Plain, meteorologist Luca Lombroso told local media that the strength and frequency of these storms this year made the phenomenon “rare”.
Coldiretti said its analysis shows hailstorms are occurring at an average of 11 per day, with 386 hailstorms already recorded this year. Those numbers compare to a few dozen per year up to six years, a percentage that grew to 92 in 2018 and 198 in 2019.
According to Coldiretti, “the dimensions of hailstorms have also changed, growing exponentially in recent years with original ice blocks falling from the sky – even larger than tennis balls.”
A hailstorm can destroy entire fields or orchards of vegetables and fruits. Coldiretti attributed the 40% decrease in peaches and apricots and 50% in nectarines to “this crazy climate.”
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