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Climate: Many cities on red alert as heat wave intensifies

Storm alert in northern regions

(ANSA) - ROME, JUN 28 - Twelve of Italy's 27 biggest cities, including Rome, Florence, Naples and Palermo, were put on red alert by the health ministry on Tuesday due to a heat wave that has pushed temperatures well above the seasonal average, with thermometers hitting peaks of 40°C.
    The number on red alert is set to rise to 19 on Wednesday.
    Italy's regions of Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Tuscany, Trentino Alto Adige, Val d'Aosta and Veneto, meanwhile, are braced for a wave of storms that is forecast to hit the north.
    The current heat wave, the latest in series to have already hit Italy this year even though summer has only just begun, has exacerbated the nation's drought crisis that comes after months of low rainfall and an extremely dry winter.
    Italy's civil protection department has failed to rule out water rationing during the day because of the drought, which is causing massive problems for agriculture.
    Civil Protection Department Head Fabrizio Curcio told Sky Tg24 on Monday that the volume of water in the Po, Italy's longest river, was up to 80% lower than usual.
    More frequent and intense droughts and heat waves are among the consequences of human-caused climate change, scientists say.


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