A new report reveals that an American-made bomb was discovered by fishermen on July 25 near the northern Italian village of Borgo Virgilio, near the city of Mantua. The bomb appeared to have been submerged for over 70 years.
However, as a result of several heat waves that slammed various areas of Europe (including Italy) with record high temperatures, the water levels in the River Po, which runs east-west across northern Italy, have dramatically decreased this summer.
Military specialists estimate that the bomb weighed close to 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms).
Military professionals cut the bomb's fuse and relocated the weapon to a quarry about 30 miles (45 kilometers) away after evacuating the roughly 3,000 civilians who reside in the village's proximity. There, the bomb was detonated in a controlled manner and destroyed. The controlled explosion did not result in any reported injuries or damages.
According to the mayor of Borgo Virgilio, Francesco Aporti, "At first, some of the inhabitants said they would not move, but in the last few days, we think we have persuaded everyone." Adding that if anyone had refused to leave, operations would have been put on hold.
Extreme heat waves have affected a large portion of the Northern Hemisphere this summer, and as a result of ongoing climate change, these heat waves are expected to occur more frequently.
According to The Washington Post, Rome had its highest recorded temperature ever at 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius) in late June. The Tiber River in Rome dried out so much during the June heat wave that the remains of an old bridge constructed during the period of Emperor Nero (who ruled as the fifth emperor from CE 54 to 68) were clearly visible on the river bottom. According to experts, the bridge ruins only appear during prolonged droughts.
According to Reuters, Italy declared a state of emergency last month for districts near the River Po, where about one-third of the country's agricultural products are produced. Although the bomb had nothing to do with the state of emergency. The area is enduring the most severe drought in about 70 years.
The Po is the longest river in Italy, flowing from the southwest Alps to the Adriatic Sea. However, this year's yearly satellite photographs show growing stretches of dried-up riverbeds due to extreme drought. Due to the heat and lack of rain in recent months, the river's current has become so weak that farmers in the Po Valley claim salty seawater is now seeping into the river and killing crops.