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Italy - from drought to floods

The storm that hit Livorno on the night between Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September caused landslides and seven deaths.

At least 200 millimetres of water fell on the city and surrounding area. Coldiretti estimated that the damage to agricultural facilities, equipment and stocks is worth €3 million. This was all made worse by the fact that, after a prolonged lack of rain, the soil becomes incapable of managing the water flow, thus leading to overflows, flooding and landslides.

Bird’s eye view of Livorno on Sunday morning

A Tuscan potato producer reported: “we were really scared, but the worst part is over. We are now assessing the damage and we will learn more over the next few days. At least we’re all fine though, we just need to roll up our sleeves and work hard.”

On 11th September, the bad weather moved South, hitting Campania, Sicily and Calabria, which reported damage, floods, falling trees and landslides. Heavy rain fell on the Salerno area. The areas mostly affected are agro sarnese nocerino and costiera amalfitana. The floods also caused problems for train circulation between Naples and Salerno.

A wholesaler from Campania says the situation is dire especially for vegetables, as his suppliers from Lucania and Puglia are reporting flooded fields. “We expected rain, but not so violent. We still don’t know how much produce was damaged, but we may have to import more than initially hypothesised.”


In Avellino and in the area between Montoro and Foriono, a mud landslide generated in an area deforested by wildfires this summer, luckily didn’t cause the damage initially feared. “So far, the situation is under control, even though the wind lifted the covers of a few greenhouses and damaged a few structures. We had been warned, so we were somewhat prepared,” reports an onion producer.

Storm squall-line.

Despite the alarming news, the area of Policoro (Basilicata) also reports more damage caused by the wind than by rain. In Metaponto, the rain that fell over one hour was actually good for the soil, and transplants can now be carried out.

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