Starting at 9pm today and carrying through until 3pm on August 14th, a level orange storm warning has been issued for the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas in Liguria. On the map below, the Cinque Terre falls in section C.
What does this mean? In Italy, there are four distinct colors regarding weather forecasts:
GREEN (0) is no danger whatsoever, YELLOW (1) is slight danger, ORANGE (2) is moderate danger and RED (3) is the highest level of alert for predicted extreme storm conditions.
Given the 2011 flood that affected Vernazza & Monterosso, these storm warnings are not taken lightly by local city officials.
In the case of the Comune di Riomaggiore (which includes the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Groppo and Volastra) level orange and red storm warnings mean that local businesses and schools located within potential flood zones are required to remain closed. Also, cars parked in potential flood areas must be moved to other locations. Tour groups will not be allowed to disembark in Riomaggiore or Manarola, whether by train or bus. Lastly, all hiking trails will be officially closed until the storm warning has been reduced. The other two city halls in the Cinque Terre (Comune di Vernazza and Comune di Monterosso) take similar measures during level orange (or red) storm warnings.
If you are in the Cinque Terre now, exercise caution in the event of heavy rains (in which case, stay indoors and away from flood susceptible areas). Businesses outside of designated flood zones should be unaffected and open for business as usual.
Silver lining: Maybe it will be a good day to catch up writing in your travel journal?