Due to flooding in Tuscany, which killed six people, authorities in several areas declared a state of crisis on Friday. Residents were evacuated from flooded buildings in many towns, and over 20,000 houses and farms are without electricity. The wave of bad weather is expected to last until Sunday, with downpours and strong winds possible in almost all of Italy.
Six people died in the Italian Tuscany as a result of flooding that occurred after heavy rainfall on the night from Thursday to Friday, local authorities reported. The weather breakdown was related to the hurricane Ciaran passing over Europe. On Friday, a state of crisis was declared in the provinces of Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Livorno and Prato, where the greatest damage was recorded. Two people are considered missing.
The authorities of the Tuscany region announced that the water in the flooded towns is slowly receding and actions are being taken to restore normal traffic on the roads blocked since Thursday. In many towns, residents of flooded, destroyed and endangered houses were evacuated.
“The situation is still critical”
There is no electricity in over 20,000 houses and farms. In Tuscany, high-speed trains were disrupted on the route between Milan and Rome.
– The situation is still critical – emphasized Monia Monni, regional councilor for civil protection, adding that the most difficult situation is in the area of the commune of Campi Bisenziom, about 15 kilometers northwest of Florence. The water level there is the highest and 150 people have left their homes.
Major damage was reported on the coast near the Tuscan city of Massa Carrara, where winds reached speeds of 100 kilometers per hour. In the town of Camogli in Liguria, a restaurant on the beach collapsed. Water entered a square heavily frequented by tourists in the town of Portofino. In Molise in the south, the gymnasium of a school built to anti-seismic standards collapsed due to very strong winds after the 2002 earthquake.
Serious damage occurred in the city of Prato, which is the largest center of the textile industry in Europe. Several hundred houses were destroyed, including buildings of factories and textile plants.
– In a few hours, 155 liters of rain fell per square meter. This hasn’t happened for at least two centuries, said the city’s mayor, Matteo Biffoni. When he visited the flooded areas on Friday, he emphasized that the city authorities were prepared for a wave of violent weather, but – as he said – no one expected a phenomenon of such strength.
Severe weather conditions possible until Sunday
Meteorologists warn that the wave of bad weather brought by Hurricane Ciaran will remain over Italy until Sunday and will cover almost the entire country, from the mountains in the north to Sicily and Sardinia in the south.
On Friday, violent storms will pass over the entire country storms and downpours with gusty winds. The whole of Tuscany is covered by weather alerts, they have been announced for almost all provinces on Saturday.
It is also dangerous in other regions
Violent downpours and hurricane-force winds were also reported in other Italian regions. The situation was very difficult on the night from Thursday to Friday in Rome, where the wind knocked down dozens of trees. The Capital Civil Defense appealed to residents to avoid parks and open spaces.
In Cremona, Lombardy, the level of the Po River rose by three meters.
Ciaran in Europe
Torcan Ciaran hit western Europe on the night from Wednesday to Thursday. It brought gusty winds and heavy rainfall. Major damage was reported in France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain. According to data from Friday evening, a total of 16 people died.
PAP, Reuters, tvnmeteo.pl, ANSA
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI