Violent Storm Hits Italy

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 03:24

Yesterday Rome was hit with a brief but violent storm that caused flooding in areas of the historical city centre and the death of at least one person. The flash storm could be blamed to an excess of warm air that contributed to the accumulation of clouds and massive amount of rainfall, with 74mm falling in just one hour.

A Sri Lankan man was killed when the basement apartment he shared with his wife and two small children was flooded with more than 3 meters of water. The rest of the family was able to escape.

The 127mm of rainfall recorded in some parts of the city represents more than the total amount of rain expected in the entire month of October. The result was massive flooding that led to the shut down of large parts of Rome

As roads became submerged, traffic snarled and buses cancelled their routes. Both lines of Rome’s metro system were closed when stations flooded, and the Colosseum stop remains closed today due to damage sustained in the storm.

The deluge also caused water-logged ceiling tiles at one area high school to fall on students below, prompting a school closure.

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno has called for a state of emergency, and is asking that the massive thunderstorm be declared a natural disaster. Many within the opposition parties are placing the blame on the mayor for failing to carry out necessary maintenance work in preparation for winter.

The stormy day was also felt in northern Italy, where 22 cm of snow fell in the Dolomites yesterday. Storms are expected to hit the Campania region today.