Death toll in Italy storms rises to nine

The death toll from fierce storms battering Italy has risen to nine, civil protection authorities said Tuesday, as wild weather caused schools to close and trapped dozens of tourists in the north of the country.

With ferocious storms lashing the country, winds reached up to 180 kilometres an hour (110 mph) in some areas, toppling trees and causing flooding.

Five people were confirmed dead on Monday.

In addition, authorities Tuesday reported a woman died when her home was engulfed by a mudslide and rocks in the northern region of Trentino, a man was killed in the northeastern region of Veneto when by a falling tree, and a firefighter died during relief operations in South Tyrol.

Elsewhere, a man was killed while kitesurfing on Monday afternoon near the town of Cattolica on the Adriatic coast, with the local press saying strong winds had blown his board into the rocks.

A man is also missing at sea off Calabria in the southwest, after his boat was discovered empty washed up on the rocks along the coast.

Italian media have also reported that around 170 people, tourists and hotel staff, were stranded by heavy snowfall at the Stelvio Pass on the Swiss border.

In the northern, canal-ringed city of Venice, rain-soaked tourists were barred from St. Mark’s Square on Monday as local authorities said the “acqua alta” (high water) peaked at 156 centimetres (61 inches).

The waters have only topped 150 centimetres five times before in recorded history.

Genoa’s airport is set to remain closed until 1300 GMT as authorities clear the runways of detritus carried by the heavy rains, wind and tides.

Schools in the city are also closed for the day, with Rome and several other regions also halting classes due to the weather.

Source: National News Agency