Italy: floods and rain kill at least ten during the night

Italy: floods and rain kill at least ten during the night

The picture shows the flooded plain

An aerial view of the floodwaters near Senigallia, Italy, which had not yet subsided on Friday morning

At least 10 people died after flash floods hit Italy’s Marche region overnight, authorities said.

The torrential rain that fell late on Thursday caused rivers and streams to overflow and the coastal towns around the regional capital Ancona to flood.

In just a few hours, about 400 mm (16 inches) of rain was recorded, the value of a year and a half.

Rescuers are still looking for four others, including a child who was separated when a river broke its levees.

“It was like an earthquake.” The local mayor Ludovico Caverni said this on Rai state radio.

According to a local report, a mother who managed to escape from her car with her baby in her arms separated from him after being engulfed in water when the Misa River broke its banks.

Rescuers managed to rescue the woman overnight, but her six-year-old son is one of many still missing, local media reported.

In addition to 10 deaths, Italian newspapers report that about 50 people were treated in hospitals for hypothermia and other injuries sustained in the flood.

More than 180 firefighters are assisting in the rescue, evacuating people who were forced to climb trees or climb rooftops during the night to escape rising water.

Some of the rescuers used rubber boats and helicopters to reach trapped families, footage shown.

An unusually dry summer left the nearby lands parched in the coastal area and unable to absorb the copious volumes of falling water.

Although rain was forecast for the region, local officials say the flash floods that followed took everyone by surprise.

“We were given a normal rain alert, but no one expected anything like that,” Marche regional official Stefano Aguzzi told reporters according to Reuters.

Meteorological officials said the severity of the floods was explained by a combination of two things: unusually warm temperatures in September and persistent drought during the summer.

The heat meant the sea was warmer than usual at this time of year, putting more moisture in the air.

When a storm then released moisture in the form of rain, severe summer drought meant the land was too dry to absorb the falling water quickly enough.

The unusually warm climate and low rainfall have exacerbated the water shortage in northern Italy and heightened fears about the effects of climate change.

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