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 theComune 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.
UPDATE, 3:30pm: The storm warning has been extended to 7am tomorrow morning (September 10, 2017) and in zones D, B and E has been updated to a red (level 4) alert. The Cinque Terre and surrounding areas remain under an orange (level 3) alert. Original text
An orange (level 3) storm warning is in effect for today, September 9, 2017.
Our entire region (Liguria) is on an orange alert. More specifically, the Cinque Terre villages are on a level orange alert from 5pm to 12 midnight on Saturday, September 9, 2017.
Meteorologists are expecting storms with heavy precipitation, thunder and lightning, strong winds and rough seas.
Just to be clear, this is the key for the color coded storm warnings: RISK FACTOR
Green = Slim to none
Yellow = Slight danger
Orange = Dangerous
Red = Extremely dangerous What does this mean for visitors to the Cinque Terre?
All hiking trails within the Cinque Terre National Park will be officially closed during the storm warning.
In case of torrential downpour, stay away from low-lying areas or potential flood zones.
In case of rough seas, stay away from the water’s edge.
For more information and updates on the alert you can consult (in Italian):
The memory of the devastating October 25, 2011 alluvione(flood) that affected Vernazza and Monterosso is still very fresh in the minds of Cinque Terre villagers. If you don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about just search YouTube; the videos are terrifying.
Liguria, the region in which the Cinque Terre villages are located, is infamous for hydrogeological hazards and catastrophes. In the past two days Genoa (our region’s principal city) has been pummeled by unrelenting rain which has led to extensive flooding, property damage and loss of life.
The Cinque Terre villages, as well as the surrounding areas, have been placed on a level 2 alert up until midnight on Monday. As a precautionary measure, all local schools have been cancelled for Monday.
I would be lying if I said we aren’t all feeling a little nervous, and the fact that we are so close to the anniversary of the previous flood doesn’t help. I think we will all breathe a little easier once the alert is repealed on Monday.
If you are currently in the Cinque Terre my advice is to stay indoors during stormy weather and to avoid low-lying areas in case of torrential rains. When in doubt, make your way to higher ground.
Hopefully this will all be a false alarm but as we’ve learned from the past, it’s better to be safe than sorry.