After a summer characterised by hot, dry and settled weather, Europe’s transition to autumn has been, maybe unsurprisingly, fairly violent. Several outbreaks of thunderstorms with vicious winds, torrential rain and structural damage have ploughed through western Europe.

It is always a difference in temperature across a short distance that creates stormy skies. The first front of cool, wet weather, from the Atlantic that broke into the heatwave, dropped surface temperatures by 20 degrees Celsius.

Some people have been killed as a consequence of the biggest storms: Spain, France, Switzerland and Germany have seen some of the worst weather. The latest country to suffer the consequences is Italy.

Torrential rain swept across Piacenza Province in northern Italy on Monday, feeding many of the tributaries to the River Po. One such, the Nure, gathered 200mm of rain from the surrounding hills and burst its banks.

The torrent swept away a chunk of the road bridge at Bettola. The body of a man, believed to have been surveying the water level of the riverwas discovered after he had been swept away in his car.

A river of liquid mud collected cars and trees and the consequent damage in Farini was severe to some buildings. Now comes the unenviable task of clearing metres of mud and debris from homes and businesses.

The thunderstorms aren’t over yet; the very warm waters of the Mediterranean will encourage more to build every time air from the Atlantic is dragged across. Friday looks stormy again in northern Italy.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies