This week, extreme, climate-driven rainfall smashed records in a rainy portion of Italy and a dry part of Oman, respectively.
On Monday, a series of storms slammed on the brakes over northern Italy, releasing unprecedented rainfall rates over Europe, with nearly 29 inches (742 mm) of rain falling in only 12 hours. A rare tropical cyclone in Oman poured years’ worth of rain, causing catastrophic floods in a desert environment that sees little rain in a year.
The region of Genoa in Italy, which is famed for its natural beauty and rocky coasts, was the epicenter of the recent severe rainfall.
A succession of slow-moving storms stalled in the area Sunday and Monday, dropping more than 36 inches (925 mm) of rain in Rossiglione, approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Milan.
For some perspective, 36 inches is about comparable to the average annual rainfall in Seattle. It would take an average of 15 months for London to accumulate such rainfall. According to Milan news outlet Corriere della Sera, dozens of people had to be evacuated after reports of mudslides and water littered the landscape, causing a bridge to collapse in the town of Quiliano.
Wet weather is frequent in this section of Italy, with an annual rainfall of more than 50 inches (1,200 mm). According to meteorologist and extreme weather specialist Maximiliano Herrera, the storm dumped over 30 inches (750 mm) of rain in only 12 hours, creating a new European record for the greatest 12-hour rainfall on record.
On Monday, weather records continued to fall by the wayside in the adjacent town of Cairo Montenotte, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Rossiglione. Herrera stated that a 6-hour rainstorm unlike any other ever seen in Italy dumped over 20 inches (500 mm) of rain, breaking the national 6-hour record for all of Italy.
According to FloodList, an organization that tracks important flood events from across the world, the mind-boggling downpour also swamped the adjacent village of Vicomorasso, just a few miles to the east, when nearly 7 inches (180 mm) fell in just one hour.
In early September, remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded Central Park, shattering the previous 1-hour record set just 11 days earlier when Tropical Storm Henri drenched the region, with 3.15 inches falling in just one hour.
Cyclone Shaheen made landfall in far northern Oman less than two days ago, a little over 3,000 miles to the southeast, with winds just shy of a Category 1 hurricane.
According to The Times of Oman, the storm soaked the typically dry city of Al Khaburah with nearly 14 inches (300 mm) of rain in a couple of hours.
In less than 24 hours, this is the equivalent of more than three years’ worth of rainfall. More than a year’s worth of rain poured in only 6 hours at the adjacent village of Suwaiq. According to Oman’s Meteorological Department, the storm dumped 4.57 inches (116 mm) of rain in only six hours, far more than the country experiences in a whole year.