In pictures: Rome suffers freak hailstorm and flooding

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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.

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Some drivers were forced to abandon their cars trapped in ice or flooded streets in Rome
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Torrential rains caused flash flooding in cities like Rome
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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.

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Hailstones caused damage in the capital after a spell of hot weather
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Image source, EPA
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Schools were closed down on Monday in regions across Italy, including Naples
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Lightning flashed across the sky over the Pantheon in Rome

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