'The town is no more': Strong earthquake kills hundreds in central Italy

By By Brett Rathbun, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist
August 29, 2016, 12:40:53 AM EDT

A strong and deadly earthquake struck central Italy at 3:36 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

At least 290 people were killed, according to the Associated Press (AP).

That number is expected to climb as the search and rescue teams continue to dig underneath the rubble and relocate to the harder-hit areas of town.

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The epicenter was located 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) southeast of Norcia, Italy, with a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Norcia is located about 111 kilometers (69 miles) northeast of Rome.

Buildings were damaged in the city of Rieti, near the epicenter, the AP reported. Portions of the city have also lost power.

Major damage occurred in the cities of Amatrice, Accumoli, Norcia and Pescara del Tronto. Residents were buried under debris as buildings collapsed on top of them while sleeping.

"The town is no more," Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi told a local CNN affiliate. "Help us," he said.

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The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.2, while the European Seismological Center put the magnitude at 6.1. The Italian Geological Service recorded the magnitude at 6.0.

Shaking was felt as far away as the capital city of Rome, according to BBC News. Locals continued to feel tremors hours after the initial shock.

A red alert was issued by the USGS PAGER system, which estimated that significant casualties and property damage were likely as a result of the earthquake.


An earthquake of nearly the same magnitude struck in the same region back in 2009, leaving more than 300 people dead, according to the AP.

Several aftershocks have occurred since the initial quake. Early Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey recorded one aftershock with a magnitude of 4.7. The Italian Geological Service recorded the magnitude at 4.8. The aftershock, which is currently the strongest aftershock since the initial quake, crumbled a few buildings that were previously compromised, the AP reported.

Weather will not hamper recovery efforts in the next several days.

“Mostly sunny skies will be in control across central Italy into the upcoming weekend,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said.

Another strong quake struck Myanmar on Wednesday. The 6.8 magnitude earthquake killed at least four, according to the AP. The quake damaged pagodas in Bagan, the country's capital.








A post office is engulfed by rubble in Arcuata del Tronto, central Italy, where a 6.1 earthquake struck just after 3:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Sandro Perozzi)

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