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Heavy rains, high winds continue across most of Italy

No let-up in a year of extreme weather across the peninsula

04 December, 18:32
Heavy rains, high winds continue across most of Italy (ANSA) - Rome, December 4 - Heavy rains and flooding wreaked havoc on airplanes and rail lines in Tuscany on Tuesday, as Italy prepared to end a year marked by extreme weather of every type.

Italy seemed to be in a constant state of emergency in 2012, with an average of 68 floods and 138 landslides, wildly strange snowfall in Rome followed by scorching summer heat, farm group Confagricoltura noted.

The result has meant terrible conditions for the environment and strain on Italians' nerves.

And the year is not over yet.

As many as 14 flights were diverted Tuesday from Florence's Peretola airport due to heavy rains causing poor visibility, an airport spokesman said.

Flooding was also expected in the area around Florence.

Those same heavy rains also disrupted rail travel around Lucca, stretching as far as Florence and affecting trains around Pisa and the seaside town of Viareggio. Some trains were cancelled and others delayed for as long as 80 minutes.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned another system was coming in from France and was expected to deliver heavy rains and strong winds on the southern half of Italy as well as the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Civil protection agencies issued warnings of intense weather and possible disruptions to electrical supplies.

Falling temperatures could mean snow in Lombardy and the foothills of the Alps by Friday.

A year of extreme weather, particularly the heat and drought of the summer, has caused almost one billion euros in damages, said Confagricoltura President Mario Guidi.