Flash flooding has turned roads into rivers in the port city of Catania, on the Italian island of Sicily.
The situation is “very critical,” Giuseppa Maria Spampinato, a government official based in Catania, told CNN on Tuesday. From the view of her office’s window, Spampinato said the main street in the city — Via Etnea — appeared completely flooded.
On Monday Italy’s Department for Civil Protection issued a red alert — its highest level warning — for flooding in northeast Sicily and the southwest region of Calabria. A red alert was issued for a second day on Tuesday due to further expected intense rainfall.
A “depression area on the central Mediterranean persists and is causing disturbed weather conditions in the southern areas of the country,” the Italian government said Monday.
Intense rainfall and strong winds have impacted southern Italy since Sunday, with half a meter (nearly 20 inches) of rain reported in the region.
The highest rainfall totals from Sunday to Tuesday morning are from Linguaglossa, Sicily, with 520.4 millimeters (20 inches) and Fabrizia, Calabria, with 440.2 millimeters (17 inches). Catania reported 167 millimeters (7 inches) in 24 hours, more than twice the average October rainfall of 62.7 millimeters (2 inches.)
This area of storms will meander south of southern Italy, continuing rain and gusty winds in the region, and then move over Sicily on Thursday, increasing the chance of heavy rainfall and strong winds once again.
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