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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.