Flash floods kill at least nine in central Italy

STORY: At least nine people have been killed in flash floods in central Italy.

Authorities in the Marche region said on Friday (September 16) that rescuers were still searching for survivors.

Flash floods were triggered after just under 16 inches of rain fell within two to three hours - that’s a third of the amount usually received in a year.

In several towns around the regional capital of Ancona, inundated streets have now given way to upside down cars and ruined homes.

In Cantiano, 62 miles west of Ancona locals have been using shovels and tractors to clear away piles of mud and debris.

Luciana Agostinelli owns a fruit shop in the town.

This is what’s left of it.

"It was very scary, very scary. All of a sudden the water was at this level (makes gesture at chest)... Now let's see. We'll roll up our sleeves, but it is going to be tough. My fruit shop has been turned upside down.”

Some 300 firefighters are currently operating in the area.

The fire brigade said it had already rescued dozens of people who had climbed on rooftops and up trees overnight to escape the floods.

Footage released by emergency services shows rescuers on rafts attempting to evacuate people from submerged streets in the early hours.

Although the region was primed for bad weather, the downpour was far stronger than expected.

An environmental expert told Reuters the floods were due to climate change and not easy to predict.