Extreme Weather Causes Death & Damage throughout Italy

  • Mar 22, 2016

A string of violent storm cells tore through Italy during the morning hours of 3 March 2016. High winds and lightning uprooted trees, shut down railroads, and started fires throughout multiple provinces in Italy. Just south of Rome in the city of Ardea high winds uprooted a tree and sent it crashing into a car, killing two and injuring a third individual.

The below image shows dozens of purple in-cloud lightning strikes during the time of the accident. In-cloud lightning is often a precursor to other dangerous weather conditions like the yellow cloud-to-ground lightning strikes as well as the high winds that caused the death of two in the area.


Unfortunately, the strength and reach of this storm system meant that the damage and injuries were not contained to just one area. To the north in the Tuscan city of Arezzo, a bolt of cloud-to-ground lightning made contact with an apartment building.

The lightning caused the building to catch fire and the owner, a 62 year-old man, was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for mild smoke inhalation. We believe that one of the eight yellow cloud-to-ground lightning strikes pictured below could have been the same strike that set fire to the apartment building.


The below video powered by Earth Networks Total Lightning Network shows the extent of the lightning strikes during the violent storms. Notice how both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning were present during the morning hours of 3 March. Hardly any region of Italy was left untouched by at least some type of lightning.

Not only did the storm damage human lives and property, but it also disrupted critical infrastructure. The video shows a band of in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning moving through the Casentino area during the early morning hours. One of these lightning strikes knocked out rail services between Arezzo and Sita, which caused major delays for commuters throughout the day on Thursday.

In the Naples area, a school had to be evacuated after the winds damaged the roof. To the west, on the island of Sardinia, high winds tore down trees and electricity poles as well as interfered with ferry services.