Weatherwatch: Venice supercell storm endangers cruise ship

Alessio Martini (MetDesk)
Photograph: Roberto Ferrucci/AFP/Getty Images

An extremely intense outbreak of thunderstorms battered Italy last week. It began in the north of the country before gradually spreading southwards, especially affecting the eastern side of the peninsula.

Venice was the first major city to be hit by a severe supercell on 8 July, with heavy rainfall and strong winds creating perilous conditions for a cruise ship exiting the port not far from San Marco Square. The thunderstorms moved southwards along the Adriatic coast, producing floods and fierce 90mph gusts of wind near Ancona on 9 July. Many properties were damaged along the coasts. On 10 July giant hailstones fell in Pescara, some of which were 15cm (6in) in diameter.

Related: 'Do not drop your guard': Tropical Storm Barry threatens heavy rain after landfall

As the same cold front that affected Italy continued south-eastwards, several thunderstorms broke out in Greece, particularly in northern regions. Strong gusts, flash floods and large hailstones caused seven deaths, many injuries and damage to property.

Across the Atlantic, Hurricane Barry brought widespread flooding after the storm made landfall in Louisiana last weekend and tracked northwards very close to the Mississippi. Coastal areas experienced a storm surge of more than two metres and 300mm to 600mm of rain fell inland.