Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

If you follow the blog or my social media accounts, you’re probably wondering why we have so many storm warnings and weather alerts here in the Cinque Terre.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these videos are probably worth a million.

The date was October 25, 2011. In just six hours a storm dumped 54.2cm (that’s over 21 inches) of torrential rain onto our already fragile territory causing streams to overflow and (mostly abandoned) drystone terraces to collapse.

The villages of Vernazza and Monterosso were devastated by flooding and mudslides. Four locals lost their lives: three in Vernazza and one in Monterosso. The outcome could have been much, much worse.

The same storm rocked the Val di Vara (located on the opposite side of ridge from the Cinque Terre) and left seven victims in its wake. Just two weeks later, another storm with copious amounts of rain flooded Genoa, killing six people.

To put it simply, we have much at stake and much to fear when it comes to storms here. In the event of a natural disaster, city halls—and ultimately their mayors—can be held responsible in both civil and penal courts if adequate security measures were not taken in advance. For this reason, most city halls err on the side of caution and automatically enact storm warning action plans as soon as the alert is issued. Can it be annoying that schools are cancelled or businesses are forced to close? Absolutely. But I’d much rather be inconvenienced than repeat the tragedy we experienced in 2011.

Perspective changes everything.

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