Northern Italy struggls with ice.
The cold snap, which has caused well over 50 deaths across Europe, has hit Milan and the rest of northern Italy particularly hard. In Italy, two homeless people have died from the cold, one of them in Milan.
In addition to the snow the low temperatures brought the danger of ice. “Gelicidio” is the phenomenon which occurs when rainfall freezes almost instantly on contact with vegetation or the ground – and on railway lines and points. Icing caused Autostrade per l’Italia to close the main artery in both directions from Milan as far south as Sasso Marconi, beyond Bologna, for a few hours on Friday morning.
Long-distance rail traffic has also been hit, with the Milan-Genoa route blocked on Friday. However Trenitalia had all their Freccia high-speed services running again on Friday. Locally, Milan-based regional network Trenord – after several cancellations on Thursday – has announced that all their trains are now operating again, although there are still some delays, especially around Milan.
In the city, transport authority ATM faced the emergency rapidly and effectively. The underground metro system was largely unaffected, while surface transport by bus and tram – is running virtually normally.
However the outlook is for temperatures below freezing on Friday and Saturday, with snow and rain. Some respite in the temperature is forecast for election day on Sunday.