3 quakes shake Italy, isolating towns blanketed under snow

3 quakes shake Italy, isolating towns blanketed under snow

ROME — Three strong earthquakes shook central Italy in the space of an hour Wednesday, striking the same region that suffered a series of deadly quakes last year and further isolating towns that have been buried under more than a meter (3 feet) of snow for days.

Premier Paolo Gentiloni said it appeared no one was killed, but that it was a “difficult day” for Italy.

The first tremor, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3, hit Montereale at about 10:25 a.m. (0925 GMT), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A second quake with a magnitude of 5.7 hit the same area about 50 minutes later, and 10 minutes later a third was measured at magnitude 5.3.

Several towns and hamlets in the quake zone had already sounded the alarm in recent days that they were without electricity and were isolated from highways due to the unusually heavy snowfall that has blanketed much of central Italy.

The quakes only made matters worse, knocking out some cellphone service, hampering emergency responses and sending quake-weary residents into panic.

“The situation is really getting extreme,” said the mayor of Canzano, Franco Campitelli. “It’s snowing hard. We’re without electricity. We hope the army gets here soon with snow plows or we risk being completely isolated,” he told Sky TG24.

The quakes, which had their epicenters in the L’Aquila region, were felt as far away as Rome, 150 kilometres (100 miles) to the southwest.

In the Italian capital, the subway was closed as a precaution, parents were asked to pick up their children from some schools, and offices, banks and shops were evacuated temporarily.

But elsewhere in Rome at the Vatican, Pope Francis’ Wednesday general audience went off without a hitch.

Dozens of aftershocks continued to rock the area. The mountainous region was slammed by three quakes last year, killing nearly 300 people in and around the medieval town of Amatrice and causing significant damage to older buildings. The tower of one of Amatrice’s churches toppled in Wednesday’s quakes.

L’Aquila itself suffered a devastating 6.3-magnitude earthquake in 2009 that killed more than 300 people.

Mayor Maurizio Pelosi of Capitagno, near the epicenter of Wednesday’s quakes, said even before the earth shook many roads into and out of the town were blocked due to the snow.

A hotel worker in town, Giuseppe Di Felice, told state-run RAI radio people couldn’t get out of their homes. “It’s apocalyptic,” he said.

___

AP writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.

Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Langley flings fur for Teddy Bear Toss

The Vancouver Giants collected hundreds of toys for charity Sunday.

Langley church prepares massive meal

A local chef and parishioners are taking charge in the kitchen for St. Joseph’s 25th annual dinner.

Giants ‘stuff’ Cougars

Vancouver blanks Cougars on Teddy Bear Toss night at Langley Events Centre

Langley firefighters in the Christmas spirit

Firefighters across the community are donating to charity or giving Santa some help.

Gators, Bobcats compete in basketball tournament

Two Langley teams competed, but it would be the Gators who would become champs.

VIDEO: Langley Christmas Bureau braces for busy toy distribution days

Volunteers spent the weekend sorting gifts donated for kids from Langley’s underprivileged families.

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Most Read