Italy suffered a twin pounding from the elements on Tuesday when severe storms battered the north, killing a woman and a 16-year-old girl scout, while southern regions sweltered under a heatwave that has pushed temperatures towards record highs.

The government was preparing emergency measures to help regions hit by the extreme weather, with the northern region of Lombardy, which includes Milan, estimating damage of over 100 million euros ($110 million).

The overnight storm in Milan tore off roofs and uprooted hundreds of trees, blocking roads, smashing parked cars and disrupting overground transportation.

“It all happened around 4 or 5 AM (0200-0300 GMT) this morning, it was very short but very intense, it knocked down several trees…with the wind gusts they took off and broke up,” witness Roberto Solfrizzo, 66, told Reuters.

In the northern Monza and Brescia provinces, a woman and the 16-year-old girl were killed after being crushed by falling trees, while a teenager was seriously injured when he was hit by a falling branch in the Veneto region.

Tourist attractions also bore the brunt of the bad weather, as the Sforza Castle was shut after some tiles were brought down and rain was heavy enough to penetrate the glass-vaulted Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan’s famed shopping arcade.

In other parts of Italy, the heatwave engulfing southern Europe maintained its grip, with 16 Italian cities on red alert on Tuesday because of the high temperatures.

A 98-year-old man, who was bedridden, was killed in the southern region of Calabria when fire consumed his home, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.


Nello Musumeci, the civil protection minister, told SkyTg24 the cabinet was ready to listen requests from regions to declare a state of emergency, and urged all residents to exercise caution.

In some parts of eastern Sicily, temperatures rose to 47.6 Celsius (117.7 Fahrenheit) on Monday, close to a record European high of 48.8 Celsius recorded on the island two years ago.

“It is one of the most difficult days that Italy has experienced in recent years from a climatic and civil protection point of view … The force of nature tends to overwhelm that of the man,” said Musumeci.

Catania, the main city in eastern Sicily, is being hit by power and water supply cuts that local officials blamed in part on the heat have been frequent in recent days.

The city’s airport, Italy’s fifth-biggest, has returned at 50% of its capacity after being closed last week due to a fire in a terminal building.

The airport operator in the Sicilian capital of Palermo said flights were able to take off and land again by late morning on Tuesday after a nearby wild fire had earlier put it out of action.