A Freak Hail Storm Just Turned Rome’s Streets Into Ice Rivers

Oct 24, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Hail, Caesar! On Sunday, Rome was hit by a freak hailstorm that left the city looking like a winter wonderland.

After days of unseasonably warm temperatures reaching the mid to high 70s, the bizarre storm pummeled the Eternal City with strong winds, torrential rain, floodwaters and knee-high ice drifts. The unprecedented weather created an unusual sight of summery, green-leafed trees surrounded by a snow-like blanket of ice.

Roman roads were quickly transformed into frozen rivers by the accumulating hail, and drivers were left with no choice but to abandon their cars. Some vehicles were almost fully covered, forcing drivers to scramble onto their car roofs and wait for emergency response services.

At least six metro stations were forced to close after the storm runoff flooded the city’s A and B lines, the Italian press reported. And even some tourist destinations were closed amid the chaos of the storm, such as the San Sebastiano Fuori le Mura — a basilica with catacombs. Here, more than a foot and a half of water covered the historic floors.


The wacky weather also affected other Italian cities, including Milan, Bologna and Sicily. Overnight emergency teams worked to get the roads back to normal in time for the Monday commute, but continued flooding in southern Italy was still being reported on Tuesday. The weather forecast is predicting temperatures back in the 70s for the rest of the week.

As a result of the severe weather event, the Italian news agency Ansa reported that the last of the olives that had survived the spring freeze in the region of Lazio were destroyed.

It seems that this generally rare phenomenon is becoming more common in Italy. Back in August, the Italian island of Sardinia was blasted with almost a foot of hail. Sardinia was also in the middle of a heat wave prior to the hail storm, though temperatures there exceeded 95 degrees. Sardinia’s squall caused temperatures to plummet into the low 50s, but the mercury quickly bounced back into the 90s just days later.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), an arm of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration agency, “there is no clear distinction between storms that do and do not produce hailstones.”

“Nearly all severe thunderstorms probably produce hail aloft, though it may melt before reaching the ground,” NSSL stated on its website.

With a heavy thunderstorm in the forecast for Rome on Saturday, tourists planning to visit the Italian city may want to pack an umbrella. Or better yet, a helmet.

Feature photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP / Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.