Tumultuous weather impacts hard-hit island of Sicily
The storm produced towering waterspouts, driving rain, damaging winds and even a tornado that was blamed for at least one death.
A large waterspout was seen spinning off the coast of the Italian island of Sicily on Nov. 16.
A storm brought torrential rainfall, howling winds, a waterspout and even a tornado to portions of Italy from Tuesday into Wednesday, and at least one fatality has been blamed on the severe weather.
A 53-year-old man was killed near the city of Modica early Wednesday on the Italian island of Sicily after being struck by a tornado, according to reporting from Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA), an Italian news outlet. The man had reportedly ventured outside his residence to attempt to fix a shutter or railing that had been damaged by the wind.
The mayor of Modica, Ignazio Abbate, cautioned residents not to venture outside of their homes unless absolutely necessary as the severe weather persisted, according to ANSA.
Hail up to the size of golf balls pummeled the ground across western portions of Sicily on Tuesday while heavy rain fell elsewhere. In addition, an imposing waterspout spun to life off the coast of Sicily on Tuesday.
This severe weather persisted on Wednesday as rain continued to fall and strong winds roared at times. Schools in portions of the island were shuttered on Wednesday as heavy rainfall flooded streets, according to Reuters.
Amidst the heavy rains and strong winds, the Vigili del Fuoco, the Italian agency for fire and rescue services, responded to more than 230 calls for help from Tuesday to Wednesday. The calls ranged from water rescues to downed trees and power lines.
AccuWeather meteorologists say the driving force behind this violent weather was a long-lived storm.
"A storm over the western Mediterranean and Tyrrhenian Sea has circulated across the region for over a week, bringing persistent rainfall and thunderstorms to Sicily, western Italy, Sardinia, Corsica and the southern coastline of France," AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer explained.
The storm's soaking rain in Sicily began last week, with a peak in rainfall recorded on Thursday. According to Smithmyer, Palermo, Sicily, recorded roughly 3 inches (75 mm) of rainfall in just 24 hours.
"Additional rainfall has spread across Sicily in recent days, exacerbating the risk of flooding and mudslides across the region," Smithmyer cautioned.
This latest bout of heavy rainfall and severe weather comes just under a month after a medicane brought damaging weather to Sicily. In late October, the medicane triggered dangerous flash flooding and landslides and was blamed for at least two fatalities.
Medicane is an informal name for a non-tropical storm that moves over the Mediterranean Sea and gains some tropical characteristics as it strengthens over the warm water. Medicane is a combination of the two words "Mediterranean" and "hurricane."
While the storm that triggered hazardous conditions for Sicily this week does not hold the moniker of "medicane," it can still put residents at risk for additional severe weather into the end of the week.
"By the weekend, this storm is expected to shift eastward toward Greece and bring a few showers to the western coast," Smithmyer said. "As a wide dome of high pressure shifts farther into central Europe, a period of settled weather is anticipated for Sicily by the end of the week."
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