At least 110 people have been injured after tennis ball-sized hail rained down on a region of northern Italy overnight Wednesday.
In a surprise storm, hailstones of up to 10 cm in diameter pelted the streets of Veneto, according to regional president Luca Zaia.
Emergency services responded to more than 500 calls for help due to damage to property and personal injuries, the Veneto regional civil protection said.
Workers have been removing glass from broken windows and cutting trees and other plants that were severely damaged in the storm.
“The wave of bad weather, after having impacted our mountain regions, has now also hit the plains, causing injury to some people,” Zaia said, adding that most injuries were caused by broken glass and people slipping on the hailstones.
A 53-year-old man riding his bicycle died during the storm when his wife, who was following him with their car, ran over him, CNN affiliate Sky24 reported.
Europe has seen dramatic shifts in weather this year.
Italy, Spain and Greece have faced unrelenting heat for days. The Italian capital Rome hit a new record temperature of 41 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
The Italian Meteorological Society named the latest heat wave Cerberus after the three-headed monster that features in Dante’s Inferno as a guard to the gates of hell. “The earth has a high fever and Italy is feeling it firsthand,” Luca Mercalli, head of the Italian Meteorological Society, told CNN.
In May, parts of the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna suffered under ‘once in a century’ deadly flooding, with over 20 rivers in the region bursting their banks and prompting a wave of landslides.
As the human-caused climate crisis accelerates, scientists are clear that extreme weather events will only become more frequent and more intense.