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First snow flakes fall in Rome

Bad weather persists throughout the country

03 February, 13:34
First snow flakes fall in Rome (ANSA)- Rome, February 3 - Winter weather gripping Italy brought the first snowfall of the year to Rome Friday. Authorities are taking measures to guarantee transport for the city's inhabitants while officials have closed the Colosseum Roman Forum and Palatine archeological sites and confirmed that schools will be closed on Saturday.

As the snow piles up, many of the city's inhabitants are recalling the 1956 snowstorm that slowed the capital down for an entire month and caused shortages. Further south near Naples, the first heavy snowfall of the year hit Vesuvius Friday morning and traffic authorities ordered snow chains for drivers braving the volcano's slopes.

In the northern town of Trepalle near Sondrio in Lombardy, the second-highest inhabited area in Europe after Juf Switzerland, the thermostat dropped to -22 degrees in the early hours Friday. Schools in Cesena, Forli' and Ravenna will most likely remain closed Monday, said the mayor of the Romagna town Cesena on Italy's Adriatic side.

The motorway E45 that passes through Umbria to Romagna passing over the Apennine mountains has been temporarily closed as workers attempt to remove snow banks choking the thoroughfare.

Snapped power lines cut off electricity in the central region of Molise, specifically Isernia, where local authorities are working to restore power by Friday afternoon and clear roads, despite an impending salt shortage.

Throughout Molise snow ranging from 40 centimeters to one meter is being reported and schools remain closed.

The Piedmont town of Chiavasso has provided emergency shelter for homeless in the area and deliveries of medicines and food for the elderly. Near Isernia, police found a 46-year-old male was found dead in his snow-covered vehicle on the side of the road.

So far, harsh weather has spared the southern island of Sicily where temperatures were recorded at 18 degrees on Friday and restaurants continued with outdoor service.

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