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    Jesse Ferrell

    Lightning, Hail and Waterspout for Pope Conclave

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    3/13/2013, 4:49:23 AM

    UPDATE WED. 3/13/2013 9 AM ET: Rain to continue, storms stay North

    Currently in Rome at 2:20 PM CET, it is 56 F (13 C) with light rain. The AccuWeather.com forecast for the rest of today is simply: Rain. Our extended forecast says "Expect showery weather Wednesday evening through Thursday afternoon" but Friday and the weekend should be dry, with partly cloudy skies. CNN says that the first two conclave votes to elect a new Pope were inconclusive.


    The AccuWeather.com Italy radar shows light showers moving into Rome from the southwest, but any storms have remained to the north, so today's weather will likely not feature lightning, hail and (nearly) waterspouts, which were all part of yesterday's weather (detailed below). The lightning map shows most lightning NW of Rome, and our forecast agrees with Estofex that storms will remain northwest of the city.


    As additional proof that Rome has been in a rainy, stormy pattern this week, the Associated Press shares this amusing photo of a Cardinal battling the rain and wind one week ago today: Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet holds on to his umbrella on a rainy windy day as he walks in St. Peter's Square after attending a cardinals' meeting, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Cardinals are meeting to discuss the problems of the church and to get to know one another because there is no clear front-runner in the election of the new pope. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)


    ORIGINAL REPORT 3/12/2013:

    When in Rome... I blogged one month ago today that lightning likely struck The Vatican the same day that Pope Benedict resigned. Today, on the same day that the Papal Concave convened to start the selection process, a thunderstorm has once again hit Rome with lightning and hail, per Alexandre Aguiar (from MetSul) on Twitter (thanks for the tip):

    Indeed, lightning tracking site Blitzortung.Org reports many lightning strikes in the area at 2 p.m. ET (and the Worldwide Lightning Network agrees).


    According to weather data from AccuWeather.com Professional, an official weather station in Rome has reported thunder around 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET, with hail observed around 10 a.m.:


    A waterspout was also sighted earlier today on Isola del Giglio, an island off the coast north of Rome.

    Of course, it is mid-March now and Rome is on about the same latitude as New York City; it's almost spring, so thunderstorms are much more common than they were a month ago. In fact, this is the third straight day in which a weather station in Rome has reported thunder, after having it 10 days in February. At some point, it starts being just a coincidence.

    Another Twitter user said that MSNBC called the rain "biblical":

    If you want to watch the storms live, check out NBC's live "Sistine Chapel Smoke Cam":

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    I'm willing to bet that this photo (from February 11) gets recirculated as one taken today:

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Jesse Ferrell