Europe

In pictures: Rome suffers freak hailstorm and flooding

An Italian policeman works in a flooding street in Rome Image copyright EPA
Image caption Public transport was forced to stop in Rome after freak weather hit the capital

A wave of extreme weather bringing hail, floods and strong winds has brought parts of Italy to a standstill.

After a long spell of hot weather, Rome suffered damage from a major hailstorm and torrential rains overnight.

Firefighters were called out nationwide, from Milan in the north to Sicily in the south.

Local authorities issued an orange alert - one below the highest - for the region of Calabria, where cities and towns ordered schools to stay closed.

Parts of Molise, Basilicata and Puglia are also on orange alert - while a lesser, yellow warning was issued for Abruzzo, Calabria, Sicily and Lazio.

Cars are locked in a road covered with hail in Rome Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some drivers were forced to abandon their cars trapped in ice or flooded streets in Rome
Water pours over the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland), the national monument to Italian King Victor Emmanuel II in Rome Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Torrential rains caused flash flooding in cities like Rome
An Italian policeman wades in a flooded street near an abandoned car Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police and firefighters responded to weather-related incidents across the country, including here in Rome

Strong winds in Milan toppled several trees, while in Bologna, the airport experienced delays due to difficult flying conditions. Florence and Pisa were also affected by the severe weather.

Despite the high alert warnings, forecasters predict clearer and warmer weather this week, with storms returning on the weekend.

Hail covers the Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon in central Rome Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Hailstones caused damage in the capital after a spell of hot weather
Water floods the Trajan Forum in central Rome Image copyright AFP/Getty
Pedestrians are reflected in a puddle as they protect themselves from the pouring rain with umbrellas while walking in downtown Naples, southern Italy Image copyright EPA
Image caption Schools were closed down on Monday in regions across Italy, including Naples
Lightning flashes across the sky over the Pantheon monument during a hailstorm in downtown Rome Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Lightning flashed across the sky over the Pantheon in Rome

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