Tornadoes hit Sicily, Italy, destroying greenhouse crops

Heavy rains and tornadoes hit Sicily, Italy on November 10 and 11, 2017, destroying local greenhouse crops. In addition, some of the farmers had to deal with flooded crops. Severe weather warnings are still in effect for the region. Late autumn is major tornado season in southern Italy.

“We went from extreme drought in summer to the cloudburst that hit part of the S. Croce Camerina a month ago. And the crazy weather is continuing with tornadoes in Acate, Pedalino, Vittoria and part of Randello. Entire greenhouses, growing peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, etc. were hit,” Gianfranco Cunsolo from the Ragusa branch of Coldiretti, the leading organization of agricultural entrepreneurs, told Fresh Plaza.

“Coldiretti Ragusa is applying for a state of natural disaster to be declared and is urging all damaged producers to report their situation so we can quantify the areas hit and the economic damage,” Cunsolo said. 

With the crisis not entirely over yet, those who haven’t had the chance to insure their productions against bad weather will probably have to fight hard to stay afloat, Fresh Plaza added.

Tornado damage in Ragusa province, Sicily, Italy – November 2017. Credit: Ragusa Coldiretti

Tornado damage in Ragusa province, Sicily, Italy - November 2017

Tornado damage in Ragusa province, Sicily, Italy – November 2017. Credit: Ragusa Coldiretti

Autumn is tornado season in southern Italy and the country is one of the European hotspots for tornadoes.

“Squall lines in the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas produce tornadoes particularly in late summer and throughout autumn, frequently in setups that also produce damaging flooding,” Severe Weather Europe (SWE) meteorologists explained. “The southern part of Italy experiences tornadoes particularly during late autumn, as deeper troughs push far south, while the warm waters of the central and southern Mediterranean frequently provide high to extreme instability.”

The threat of severe weather in extreme southern Italy continues today, particularly in parts of Puglia.

“Significant instability overlaps with an impressively sheared environment, favorable for supercell thunderstorms. Training storms in slowly moving convective lines will produce persistent torrential rainfall and enhance local flash flooding threat. Strong low-level shear and instability also enhance the tornado threat,” SWE warned.

Featured image:  Tornado damage in Ragusa province, Sicily, Italy – November 2017. Credit: Ragusa Coldiretti

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