NEWS » Emiglia Romagna hit by tornado

Emiglia Romagna hit by tornado

A huge tornado has struck the Emilia-Romagna region, already devastated  by an earthquake and subsequent aftershocks last summer, when 27 people were killed and hundreds of buildings destroyed.

Luckily this time there have not been any deaths but 12 people injured and serious damages to houses, buildings and crops, but the governor of Emilia-Romagna has asked the central government to declare a state of emergency for the catastrophic damages.

The tornado, classified by experts as class 2 (level 1 is weak and level 5 the maximum) provoked winds for 200 km/h and it moved from the province of Modena to the area between Ferrara and Bologna. The more affected areas were, Castelfranco, Bentivoglio, San Giorgio di Piano, Argelato e Minerbio.

In this time of the year, especially after such a rainy season as the last one in the north of Italy, a lot of humidity formed on the ground and encouraged the creation of convective systems. According to the experts it is impossible to foresee this phenomenon which happens suddenly without warning.

Tornados in Italy are quite rare but the incidence of the phenomenon is one of the highest in Europe. Italy ranks at the third place after UK and the Netherlands. The Po valley is the most affected area but tornados occur also in Lazio, Tuscany, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The first evaluations of the damages amount up to 171 million. The two whirlwinds that hit the area between Modena and Bologna caused 30 million in damages, compromising 227 buildings (81 in Bologna and in Modena 146), including 158 private houses and 59 sheds. 7,000 people remained without electricity. The rest of the damage was caused by the landslides originated by the Appenino chain slipping, due to the exceptional rains of March and April. In this case, the most affected is the area that goes from the province of Bologna to Parma, where in Capriglio the greatest landslide in Europe occurred, wiping out an entire section of the Massese motorway.

The final count is 1,700 landslides, hundreds of people evacuated, about thirty houses destroyed and many industrial and agricultural buildings crumbled.

As regards the different crops, the major problems were recorded for pear trees, which in this period have already a good production of fruit.

Unfortunately, most of the producers don’t have an insurance policy to protect them from the extreme weather events, increasingly frequent in this area.  

Giulia Lombardo

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