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Extreme storms are no doubt becoming more frequent, but on Monday, a freak torrential rainstorm hit the prized Mediterranean island of Sardinia, indicating that “apocalyptic” weather is here to stay.

That downpour flooded the island with its usually crystal-clear waters, swept away cars, downed bridges and killed at least 17 people.

The island, usually a desired hub for royals, entrepreneurs and ordinary tourists alike during the summer months, received more than 44 centimeters (17.3 inches) of rain in 24 hours Monday – half the amount it normally receives in a year, officials said.

According to the Associated Press:

Italian Premier Enrico Letta declared a state of emergency and set aside 20 million euros ($27 million) for emergency relief, saying the priority was reaching remote areas, saving the lives of those still unaccounted for and providing for those left homeless.

Italy’s civil protection chief, Franco Gabrielli, said the death toll may still rise as crews reach isolated areas in the countryside where some homes are submerged.

Olbia Mayor Gianni Giovannelli said the city had been destroyed by the “apocalyptic” storm, with bridges felled and water levels reaching 3 meters (10 feet) in some places. He described the ferocity of the storm’s rains as a “water bomb.”

Other parts of Italy were hit as well. In Rome and Venice, residents and tourists had to “slosh” through the streets from the “acqua alta” high tides that periodically submerge the lagoon city.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Sardinia at this time.

SOURCE: AP | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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