Gala Placidia Image
02/07/2012 - 02:22

The cold weather is affecting most of Italy and creating difficulties concerning energy supplies. Russia, the most important supplier, has been reducing the provision of gas up to 30% due to increasing demand in their area. Italy has managed to organise supplies from North Africa and Austria; however, nobody seems to be quite certain about the outcome. cold spell is lasting very long and it looks, from the weather reports, as if it is going to continue for a few days and some temperatures may even drop. I mainly keep an eye on Bagni di Lucca, for obvious reasons, but I also correspond with people in other areas.Only a few days ago, a Sri Lankan man was found dead in a shack in Lucca. He had lost his job, was an illegal immigrant and had nowhere to go. His family was staying in Bagni di Lucca and I do hope that the generous people from the area will look after them. looks as if Arezzo and Sienna have been left without power and I am sure that other areas will also be affected.Let's hope that the weather will improve. Those magical winter landscapes with snow look beautiful, but they can also be deadly.



Here where I am in le Marche, since Feb 1st it has hardly stopped snowing.............we have in excess of 2ft at the front and back doors, our track (250mtrs long) is non negotiable in our 4x4 and is likely to be like that for at least another week, possibly another two weeks. We are lucky though, we have electricity, bombola gas, lots of wood, internet, Sky(good & not so good in that !), food & water (oh plus beer and wine !) My concerns are more for those people without some or all of the above, I hope they can at least keep warm. S

I had not realised it was so bad.  I have just looked up BBC and it says (6 Feb) that 60,000 households in Italy are without power.  36,000 of these are in the Arezzo and Siena region and they have been without power for several days.  It is so hard if your heating system needs electricity to power a part of it.  I just hope that things improve quickly.  It makes the one large fall of snow we had here in NE Herts (the first this winter) seem insignificant.  It is rapidly melting though the garden is still ankle deep in snow.  You sound well "bunkered in" sprostoni - by force rather than by choice!

I have just looked on the Comune website of the small town in Northern Lazio where we have a place and on 4 Feb the Mayor ordered schools to be closed on that day because of the bad weather conditions.  Also quite a number of SP roads have been shut in the area by the province until the emergency ends.  There is no mention of closure of schools this week so I hope that conditions are better.

Weather conditions are unusually hard practically everywhere at the moment. We are currently in Spain and it is snowing on the beaches. I feel sorry for so many people who must be having a very difficult time. Without energy, in this weather... It must be terrible! February does not have a good reputation in Italy. There are some popular sayings such as: "Febbraio, corto e amaro" (February, short and bitter) "Febbraietto, corto e maledetto" (Little February, short and accursed) On the other hand, farmers love the snow in February as it ensures a good harvest: "Febbraie nevoso, estate gioiosa" (Snowy February, joy in the Summer) Weather previsions in Italy do not show much improvement until the end of next week.... Try to keep warm!

... yes power cuts briefly near Perugia but OK now... heating system runs power free so no problem anyway.   However the new issue round here for many people is that diesel fuel is freezing up and so even if the roads cleared up there is no going anywhere. The 1km white road to our house is 1.5m deep so there is no point in seeing if the car will start.

Ah - good reminder from sagraisolar: anyone with a diesel tank for central heating (especially if it is getting low) might suffer from their fuel not getting through because it has gone slushy with the cold. Another ridiculously tiny snag which can stop your boiler working is that the small 'overflow' pipe gets frozen and thus blocked. It's worth checking and clearing (and maybe if possible remove the pipe and put a bucket, inside, under the outflow) if your boiler suddenly goes down for no apparent reason. 

My Sedici is a diesel and is parked under an open ended car port; I thought I might try getting out tomorrow to maybe stock up on a few more supplies (if the stores have any !). Car started fine (after sitting still for a week), BUT............... then it cut out and now won't start, battery is fine,..............I assume the diesel is 'frozen' ? No idea what to do when I do try again !!! S

Controversy in Ancona over the "price list" for the Army's services, after the soldiers arrived in town for the bad weather alert. The mayor of Ancona Fiorello Gramillano does not agree with the prices the Army asked, especially "in a moment like the one we are now living", an emergency moment. "Eight hundred Euros a day plus board and lodging: this is the quotation given to the mayor of Colbordolo for the services of ten soldiers. And he refused", according to the President of the Province of Pesaro-Urbino, Matteo Ricci, who said that "it is an outrageous request". .

Hi getsett, thanks for asking, I took this mornings ashes (warm/hot) from the fire and placed them on a metal tray under the car, an hour or so later, the car started up...................great ! I have now wrapped the car up more than before and hopefully I can keep it warmer until we can get out and about again. There doesn't look like any real thawing weather here for another 7/10 days. Some very kind friends down the road from us popped down to the supermarket to update our provisions, so all in all we're coping. ( a sort of meals on wheels !) S

I thoroughly agree with the Mayor and the authorities. It is an amazing and outrageous request. The Armed Forces are supposed to be able to help in emergency situations. It is within their duties and throughout the world it is standard practice. First time I hear anything about payment for services...

In reply to by Gala Placidia

One wonders what other important duties these ten soldiers would have been doing if they had not been helping out?  The State finances may be in a bad way but this is ludicrous.  I am in no way blaming the soldiers - it is those in the hierarchy who made this decision that I blame.

Certainly, the military authorities are to be blamed. Soldiers only obbey. But, just as you said, this is ludicrous. I have also thought that they are very short of money, but this is not the right way for reimbursing their expenditure. I am sure that the Army is not making any profit out of those 800 euros, this is the minimum per day expenses that it will cost them to send 10 soldiers.

"......... then it cut out and now won't start, battery is fine,..............I assume the diesel is 'frozen' ? No idea what to do when I do try again !!!" You could try warming the fuel tank - not by the 'traditional' method of lighting a [small] fire underneath it, but a fan heater might work

The government has now decided that the army will not charge comuni for their services in the emergency. It's a bit complicated, and the army were completely within their rights to make a charge. If the regione had declared a state of emergency then the regione woud have got the bill (rather than the comune). It is only relatively recently that the army gained the right to 'sell' their services - (before they were 'professioanlised' there was no possibility of a partially conscript army being able to put a price on their services.) Sorry about the car sprostoni - does anyone else remember 'Peter the Heater' (which I'm pretty sure was a trade name, rather than just the name my family used). It was a dinner plate sized paraffin heater, about 3" tall, which was placed under the sump and kept the (old non-multigrade) engine oil liquid. I'm pretty sure you can get electrically powered versions these days.

Great to hear, Fillide. Councils are practically bankrupt at this stage and, in any case, I feel that emergencies, even if they are regional, are the competence of central government, who is, in turn, in charge of the army... Or is it just too logical... Otherwise, where is the concept of "nation"?

Sprostoni, The symptoms describe exactly what happened. ... and quite usual... the fuel is fine in the tank and lines but the waxy platelets in the fuel clog in the fuel filter (like a canister under the bonnet). You can revive it by pouring some hot water over it and trying again.. after a while the engine heat should keep it thawed... hair dryer is good too. An engineer friend of mine is emphatically against mixing a bit of petrol in with the fuel... use proper winter additives... good tip for next year!

Hi sagraiasolar, Thanks for the tip, next year I will certainly be more prepared. No excuse for me, but it's my first diesel and a lesson for the future. I replied earlier saying that a tray of warm ashes under the car seems to have done the trick. I know the next 72hrs are bringing with them more snow and again very cold at night. Hopefully, my latest 'blanketting' exercise will help. S