Italian region floods after 29 imches of rain falls in 12 hours

A region in northwest
 Italy has flooded after 29 inches of rain fell in 12 hours - making it Europe's heaviest-ever rainfall.

The Genoan town of Rossiglione saw 82.9 per cent of its average annual rainfall in a single day - 34 inches - as heavy rain battered Liguria, the northwest region of Italy bordering France.

The rainfall caused flooding and mudslides overnight Sunday into Monday in several places but no casualties were reported.

The hardest-hit city was Savona, on the Ligurian Sea coast. But homes in the region's hilly interior also suffered flooding and landslides, as some streams overflowed their banks. 

The deluge also broke six-hour and one-hour national records with 20 inches brought down in Cairo Montenotte and seven inches falling in Vicomorasso over the periods respectively. The region is known for wet weather and averages around 50 inches of rain a year.

Footage posted online showed water gushing down streets and spilling out of cracks in walls and buildings as rain continued to hammer down. Other video showed brown water flowing halfway up the first floor of buildings usually on the river banks, dragging cars and debris with it.  A bridge was reported collapsed in the town of Quiliano, Corriere della Sera's online site reported. In another town, Camporosso, the Covid-19 vaccine center was shut down as a precaution, LaPresse news agency said.

The port city of Genoa, Liguria's most populous area, shut schools for the day and also ordered the closure of parks and cemeteries. Open-air markets and sports facilities were also closed.

Rain let up at midday, but more downpours were forecast for later on Monday, and a 'red alert' was in effect until dawn Tuesday when roads across the region were blocked by debris dragged by the flowing water. 

The heaving rainfall came as bad weather swept across Italy this week, bringing heavy rainfall in Venice and partially flooding the city's St Mark's Square.  

Weather monitoring site Coldiretti warned the extreme weather had devastated fields, pastures, stables and agricultural vehicles, blocked roads and caused landslides across the country. 

They estimated Italy's agricultural industry had lost more than £1.7 billion (two billion euros) already this year as a result of extreme weather events.

Coldiretti called for 'increasingly advanced, effective and less bureaucratic structural interventions and risk management tools' to tackle the problem, but above all a commitment to curb climate change.' 

Extreme weather has dotted Europe all summer - flash floods devastated Germany and Belgium in July, Italy's Sicily recorded the continent's hottest ever temperature, 119.8F, in August, and forest fires beset Greece and Turkey throughout the summer.   In August a UN report, dubbed a 'code red for humanity', said the Earth is likely to warm by 1.5C within the next 20 years — a decade earlier than previously expected — and heatwaves, flooding and droughts will become more frequent and intense.  

Scientists had expected temperatures to rise by 1.5C above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 but now believe it will happen between this year and 2040. 

'It's just guaranteed that it's going to get worse,' said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. 'I don't see any area that is safe… Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.' 

The report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was produced by 200 scientists from 60 countries.

Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific papers, the review included the latest knowledge on past and potential future warming, how humans are changing the climate and how that is increasing extreme weather events and driving sea-level rises.

The authors said it was 'virtually certain' that heatwaves 'have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions'. They also said a rise in sea levels approaching two metres by the end of this century 'cannot be ruled out', while the Arctic is likely to be 'practically sea ice-free' in September at least once before 2050.  

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