UPDATE: Many of the Cinque Terre villages are experiencing power outages and no phone service. The level red storm warning has been extended to 3pm on October 30th. Local officials are asking people to stay indoors for their own safety.
Just days after the seven year anniversary of the October 2011 floods that affected Vernazza, Monterosso and the neighboring Val di Vara region (resulting in 13 casualties), the Cinque Terre is on a level red (maximum risk) storm warning for October 29th from 12 noon to midnight. The forecast calls for thunder storms, heavy rains, strong winds and rough seas. Prior to that time, the area is on lower level alerts (yellow and orange).
In Italy, storm warnings are classified by a color code: green (no danger perceived), yellow (slight danger), orange (moderate danger) and red (extreme danger).
After the devastating 2011 floods, these storm warnings are not taken lightly by local city halls.
Tomorrow expect safety measures to be in place. In the Comune di Riomaggiore (which encompasses the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Volastra & Groppo) that means:
- Local schools will be canceled
- Businesses located in potential flood zones will be closed
- Hiking trails will be officially closed
- Tour groups will not be permitted to board (or disembark from) trains or charter buses in these villages
- Cars will not be allowed to park in potential flood zones
WARNING: Do not approach the sea, avoid low-lying potential flood zones and use prudence if you are out and about.
City halls in Vernazza and Monterosso are expected to take similar precautions.
Insider take: Storm warnings are not uncommon but level red is the highest alert and is less frequently used. Make plans to stay indoors tomorrow (and if you do venture out, be very cautious). If you can, stock up on food and snacks as it may be difficult to find businesses open during the alert.