|At least six people have been killed by the severe weather which hit northern Italy on October 26 [EPA]|
The weather over Europe has been very stormy over the past few days, after an active weather system moved into the western part of the continent on October 23, bringing with it torrential rains and floods in Italy that have killed at least six people.
In northwestern Spain, 96mm of rain poured down on the city of Vigo, leading to serious flooding. Further north, Ireland was also inundated. More rain fell in Dublin than is usually expected in the whole month of October (70mm), and this led to the death of two people. Rivers burst their banks, sending water gushing down roads and into buildings.
One of the rivers that overflowed was the River Slang, which meant water surged into the city’s largest shopping centre, Dundrum.
The system then continued to move slowly eastwards, crossing central Europe two days later.
The first part of Italy to be hit was the north, and the rains were particularly damaging in the region surrounding Genoa. Mud buried cars and surged through houses as the flood waters swept past. Bridges and roads were swept away and several towns were cut off. The major highways and railway in Liguria are expected to stay shut until Sunday.
Slowly the rain spread southwards across the rest of Italy. In the 24 hours up to midnight (GMT) on 27 October, it was Sicily that was reported the heaviest rain, as Palermo received 99mm.
In total, six people are known to have been killed throughout the country, and several more are still missing.
The effects of the system were felt across the Mediterranean in northern parts of Africa, too. In Algeria, 53mm rain was reported in the port of Jijel. This wasn’t as much rain as was seen in some parts of Europe, but the flooding was still severe, as the ground here is baked hard by the sun, making it more difficult to absorb water.
This weather system is now easing, but another one is currently crossing western Europe. This, again, is producing some huge rainfall totals. Vigo, in northwest Spain, has again been badly hit, as another 104mm rain have poured onto the already-saturated city.
Autumn is always an active time for the weather across Europe. In the summer months the active weather systems are generally confined to the northern parts of the continent, but in autumn, they infiltrate further south. This means that they will start to interact with the hot weather over the Mediterranean and the temperature contrast will ensure an explosive result, producing gales and severe thunderstorms.