Rescue as extreme weather hits Italy

Floods hit Emilia-Romagna again

By Region Environment News North-east Italy

Around 900 people have had to be evacuated from their homes and trains have been suspended in some areas. Extreme weather has battered Italy, particularly the north-east.

The emergency room of Riccione’s Ceccarini hospital was flooded on Tuesday as a fresh wave of torrential rain battered Italy, especially the north-eastern region of Emilia-Romagna and other parts of the Adriatic coast.

Over 500 of the people evacuated from their homes were in the province of Ravenna. A further 200 were in the province of Bologna, with the rest being moved in other parts of Emilia-Romagna, the regional government said.

Approximately 900 civil protection volunteers are helping with the emergency effort. Rail operator RFI said that services on the Bologna-Rimini, Forlì-Rimini, Ferrara-Rimini and Ravenna-Rimini line had to be suspended because of the extreme weather.

A red alert weather warning is in place for the Emilia-Romagna region.

North-east Italy being pounded

Venice authorities are preparing to activate the flood barrier in the lagoon in hopes of preventing a rare May high-tide flooding. Known by its acronym MOSES, it has been raised tonight, for the first time in ever in May.

In Ravenna, authorities urged residents to move to upper stories of buildings whilst the storm rages. In Riccione, on the Adriatic Sea, the mayor warned people to stay home. Some residents had gone out in dinghies to navigate the streets.

The Savio River overflowed its banks in the town of Cesena, in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region. Some residents took to rooftops to await rescue by helicopters. The Mayor Enzo Lattuca urged them to move to upper floors and not risk themselves. “Use prudence, don’t be curious, so disaster doesn’t turn into tragedy,’’ he said on Rai state TV.

Meteorologists say Italy can expect several days of heavy rain. The north will feel the force of it. Until last week, when Emilia Romagna suffered from a first bout of flooding, Italy had been bracing for a second year of drought.  The river Po, which supports agriculture in the vast Po valley, had been at its lowest levels for 70 years.

Concerns over F1 Grand Prix

Formula One bosses were forced to evacuate the Imola circuit today as flooding wrecked preparations for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix this weekend.

Wind and heavy rain are expected to pound the iconic race track over the next 48 hours. Areas around Imola, near the river Santerno, have already flooded.

If the Santerno does burst its banks, it would flood the paddock and the circuit.

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