The roads were flooded or covered by several centimetres of hail in a wave of bad weather that hit the Southern Italian region of Puglia in the past 48 hours. The extraordinary rain and hail have flooded the countryside and destroyed crops, bringing local agriculture to its knees and creating several traffic disruptions.
The greatest damage was recorded in the towns of Monteroni, Galatina, Sternatia, Poggiardo, Surano, Ruffano, Parabita and Matino, in the province of Lecce, and in Torricella, Maruggio and Palagiano, in the Taranto area.
The hail momentarily turned the region, that usually enjoys sunshine and warm weather in early June, in a winter landscape. Streets were covered with ten centimetres of ice, to the point that bulldozers had to intervene to shovel it away.
Farmers are now sounding the alarm as the bad weather destroyed or severely damaged orchards, olive groves, vegetables, vineyards and wheat fields in a region that still strongly relies on agriculture.
"It looks like a damned season for farmers", said Raffaele Carrabba, regional president of Puglia farmers association Cia Agricoltori Italiani della Puglia. "Our hearts are crying and we are very worried: a whole cycle of crops and crops is going down the drain".