Floods in Sicily: torrential rains cause flooding in the province of Catania

Cars stranded on impassable roads. The Garibaldi hospital pediatric emergency room flooded. Patrons of a restaurant standing on chairs. In seventy-two hours, the province of Catania, Sicily, measured 350 millimeters of rain, Wednesday October 27, more than half of the annual precipitation, which amounts to 600 millimeters, says the Italian channel 3B Meteo.

Since Sunday, Sicily has known torrential rains that Salvo Pogliese, mayor of Catania, the most affected city, describes as “Tragedy” in publication Facebook. At least a meter of water submerges the city, assesses Carlo Migliore, doctor of geology and editor for the weather channel.

Closure of schools

The city’s prefecture announced the death of a 53-year-old motorist washed away on Tuesday. The information site Sicily News24 also counts the death of an elderly person, whose companion has been missing since Monday.

Catanese traders tell in the Italian daily The Republic the fear caused by the floods and their powerlessness in the face of this event ” almost surreal ». “Our lives were in danger”, testifies Daniele Clarinetto, employee of the restaurant Antica Marina in which he found himself ” trapped “ for six hours in the company of tourists.

Following these events, the mayor of Catania ordered, on Tuesday, the immediate closure of all shops, except pharmacies, food shops and basic necessities. He urged the Catanese to stay at home except in emergencies, “Because the intensity and violence of the rains could increase at any time”.

The situation showing itself “Worrying”, Salvo Pogliese kept public services and schools closed until Friday. “No one likes to close schools, but exceptional situations must be the subject of exceptional decisions”, he justified. At the same time, a sports structure was opened to the homeless in order to protect them from weather conditions. On Twitter, Internet users express their sadness and support with the hashtag #Catania Where #CataniaRise up (“Get up, Catania”).

Risk of “medicane” in the Mediterranean

The weather situation is not expected to improve in the short term. Rains are forecast until November 2 in Catania. The Weather Channel talks about an evolution “Disturbing” who could form a “Medicane” [contraction de Mediterranean et Hurricane (« ouragan »)], be one “Sort of subtropical hurricane over the Mediterranean causing stormy winds”, explains the television channel on Twitter.

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Floods in Sicily: torrential rains cause flooding in the province of Catania