Snow, rain and wind pummel Italy

Trains suspended in Cinque Terre, 36 hours of snow in Piedmont

Snow, rain and wind pummel Italy

Turin, March 18 - Winter refused to give way to spring in Italy as snow and rain pummeled much of the peninsula on Monday. In the northern Piedmont region, snow fell for 36 hours straight, while the region's Moro Pass saw record snowfall of 80 cm. Italian mountain ski resorts - plagued by higher than usual temperatures and lack of snow earlier this winter - are seeing a late season reprieve. Nearly a metre of snow has fallen on the upscale resort Courmayeur, on the southern side of Mont Blanc, since Saturday night. Meanwhile, nearly a half-metre of snow has also blanketed valleys of Italy's northwestern Liguria region, while trains were suspended from the coastal line running from Cinque Terre to La Spezia due to abundant rain flooding the Biassa tunnel. Traffic snarled on freeways east and west of Milan - to Bologna and Genoa, respectively - as heavy wet snow alternated with freezing rain. Central and southern Italy were hardly spared, as fierce winds blew down tree limbs and billboards in many areas of Rome, and suspended ferry connections between Naples and Capri. Wind and rain also pelted Italy's toe in the region of Calabria, where tourists flocked to southern ski facilities in the mountainous Sila national park.

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