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Following months of below-average rainfall—or in some locations no rainfall at all—across Italy, many towns are considering extreme measures to aid water conservation efforts.
Rome received only 9 percent of its normal precipitation during the month of June and has received no rainfall since Jun. 30. This has resulted in a devastating drought overtaking most of the peninsula.
Across the country, drought has resulted in agricultural losses exceeding 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion).
Since July 26, there have been over 1,800 fire alerts, according to the Global Forest Watch. While they are mainly concentrated in the south, dozens have also been reported outside Rome, in central Italy, and Verona in the north.
There have been incidents of tourists being evacuated from fire-ridden areas including Sicily, the French Riviera and areas around Mount Vesuvius.
In Rome, many public water fountains have been shut off, including the 500-year-old fountains surrounding the Vatican.
Many towns have implemented water rationing techniques, including turning off water for eight-hour periods in alternating neighborhoods. While Rome is trying to avoid this extreme measure, regions throughout the country and even adjacent to the city are considering declaring a state of emergency.
This motion would allow the government to tap into national solidarity funds. The regions of Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany made such declarations on Thursday afternoon.
The forecast calls for dry weather through at least the next week as high pressure remains in place over the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, dangerously hot weather is also in store.
“We expect record temperatures to be broken locally for daily highs with some monthly or even yearly records to be challenged on Friday,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys. “Records will again be challenged across Italy into the Balkans on Sunday.”
In addition to drying out the ground and increasing evaporation from lakes and rivers, high temperatures and plenty of sunshine will continue to heighten the wildfire threat.
The weather pattern isn’t expected to shift anytime soon.
“Extreme high temperatures are forecast to last through at least Wednesday,” Roys said.
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This weekend’s rainstorm was only the start of an abnormally wet pattern that will elevate the flood risk in the eastern United States into the end of the month.
The southeastern United States is facing the risk for damaging thunderstorms this weekend.
A pattern of persistent downpours, beginning with a rainstorm this weekend is likely to disrupt travel, hinder outdoor plans and projects and put summer heat on hold in the Northeast into early August.
Gusty winds caused blowing dust to sweep across the Las Vegas area on Saturday, creating dangerous conditions for travelers.
Near-record heat will set the stage for a heightened risk of wildfires in the southwestern United States, including Southern California, this week.
The intense record heat baking the south-central United States is expected to get trimmed back early this week, but a sweep of refreshing air is not on the horizon.
A deadly heat wave is expected to continue into early week across Japan as Ampil bypasses the region to the south.
An uptick in monsoon rainfall is expected to heighten the flood threat across eastern and northern India this week.