At least five people died in Italy on Monday as fierce winds and heavy rains struck most parts of the country, reported AFP. At least three quarters of Venice and large parts of Italy were flooded, reported AP.
The national Civil Protection Agency issued multiple weather warnings as storms swept the country, Reuters reported. Several local authorities shut schools and urged people not to travel unless necessary.
Two young people died south of Rome when a tree hit the car they were traveling in, while another person was killed and several injured in the nearby town of Terracina after winds brought down several pine trees. On person died in Naples when heavy winds uprooted trees.
Venice, which is ringed by canals, frequently floods when high winds push in water from the lagoon, but Monday’s water levels were the highest recorded since December 2008. Strong winds pushed water level to 156 cm before receding.
Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said a series of underwater barriers that are being erected in the lagoon would have prevented the flooding. The project, nicknamed Moses, has been delayed due to cost overruns and corruption scandals.
Almost all parts of northern Italy are on alert due to the storms, with winds of up to 100 km per hour and rainfall in some parts equivalent to the amount that falls over several months.
The Interior Ministry has urged officials in storm-struck regions to consider closing schools and offices for a second day on Tuesday. Schools were closed in Genoa, Rome and Veneto and several northern towns and the Sicilian port of Messina.
Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia says flooding could reach the levels of the 1966 flood that struck Venice and Florence.