Milan

Storms lash Italy's centre and north

Flooding in Tuscany, Veneto to request state of emergency

Storms lash Italy's centre and north

Milan, November 12 - Severe storms lashed central and northern Italy over the weekend, provoking floods, damage, and evacuations, especially in Tuscany and the northeast. In Venice, water levels reached an exceptional 149cm on Sunday, covering 70% of the historic center so deep that tourists took to bathing in Saint Mark's Square. By Monday morning, the 'acqua alta' had ebbed to 105 cm, covering just 5% of the historic centre. Damage across Veneto, the region around Venice, was so sever that the governor said he would call for a state of emergency to be declared as soon as the situation could be assessed properly. "We have asked mayors in territories hit by the events of recent days to carefully monitor the damage," said Veneto Governor Luca Zaia. "As soon as timely responses are received from the administrations, the region will formally act, requesting a state of emergency (to be declared by central government)". Tuscany was brutally affected by the weekend's storms which continued their onslaught on Monday. Grosseto, Siena, and Arezzo remained on a high state of alert, with an additional 80 mm of rain expected to come down Monday, following 200 mm of rain already fallen. Authorities fear landslides as well as more flooding. In the historic Tuscan town and tourist hub Orvieto, all schools were shut and the main freeway entrance closed off on Monday, while Orvieto's hospital remained stranded due to road closures. In the Tuscan province of Perugia, evacuations and road closures followed the swelling and overflow of the Nestore river banks. Areas near the Tuscan city of Grosseto were plunged under water from overflowing Elsa stream and Albenga river. A mother and her five year old child were rescued by helicopter on Monday from a farm, stranded by flooding from the Albenga river. Closure of the historic Via Aurelia highway also isolated homes in the province of Viterbo, 100km north of Rome. Meanwhile, in the capital city, authorities shut down access to the banks of the Tiber river due to rising water. Padua also remained on alert due to the threat of flooding from the swollen banks of the Bacchiglione river.

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