Floods in Italy May 2023


The huge amount of rain that has fallen in recent days has caused floods in italy never seen so far. There has already been, at least, fourteen fatalities and more than fifteen thousand people have been evacuated to save their lives.

Not even the most expert meteorologists expected that the rains would have the virulence that they have shown. Now they are trying to clarify its causes so that, in the event of a reoccurrence, do not have such disastrous consequences. So that you know what has happened, we are going to explain everything you need to know about the floods in Italy.

Geographical and climatological context

Floods in Italy

Previous floods in Emilia Romagna

It all started a few days ago in the transalpine region of Emilia Romagna, which is located northeast of the Italian peninsula and whose capital is Bologna. It is the sixth largest in the country and is bathed by the Adriatic Sea. Precisely, due to its size, the climatic conditions change from one area to another. But, in general, it has a Continental weatherwith cold winters and hot summers.

In addition, the precipitations are not very abundant, which will surprise you in view of recent events. However, as we will see and paradoxically, this may be one of its causes. The most abundant rains occur in the fall, especially in the months of October and November. Even less is the average snowfall in the region, with about sixty millimeters per square meter in December and January and much less the rest of the year.

In view of all these data, there was nothing to predict what has happened in Emilia Romagna. However, scientists have already begun to explain. We will see them later, but now we are going to make a brief chronicle of events.

How were the floods in Italy?

Damage in Emilia Romagna

Damage caused by floods in Emilia Romagna

Although there was already another previous episode, the rains began in the area last Tuesday and extended throughout that day and the next. They fell with such virulence that it is estimated that, in just thirty-six hours, it rained as much as in a six month period.

The result was that more than twenty rivers overflowed and some five hundred highways were cut off. But, what is worse, entire towns were flooded with disastrous results. In fact, as we have told you, there are already at least fourteen deaths. But rescue teams continue to search for people in the water.

In total, about forty municipalities of Emilia Romagna have been severely affected by the rains. However, although this region has been the most damaged, they have also caused serious problems in others such as the Brands, in the center of the Italian peninsula, and the Veneto. In fact, given the possibility of a new front arriving, the Piedmont and even the capital itself, Roma.

On the other hand, as you will understand, the material and economic damages of the floods in Italy are devastating. The authorities of the country have already granted a fund of twenty million euros only for the most immediate expenses. But, surely, they will declare the region as disaster zone and they will bring much more money. Presumably also the European Union will have to provide aid to the transalpine country. But we are getting off topic. More important is that we talk to you about how meteorologists explain this phenomenon that occurred in Italy.

Why did the floods occur in Italy?

Floods in Germany

Floods in Germany three years ago

First of all, sometimes nature is unpredictable. However, events such as those in Italy are the result of global warming and the problems that we have been suffering for years. This has already been stated by the experts who have been asked about the causes of the floods in Italy. So we can do a lot about it.

As a sample of this, we will explain what he has said Antonello Pasini, climatologist at the Italian National Research Council. According to him, the changes that are taking place in the climate have caused the rainy days to be much less than a few years ago. As a counterpart, when there is precipitation, they are much stronger.

In fact, the Emilia Romagna region has suffered two years of drought. It has not even snowed like before on the summits of the Alps, the Dolomites and the Apennines. With the thaw, these waters filled the rivers and lakes supplying the fertile plain of the Po. As the water has not arrived, this has been drying up and the riverbeds they have retracted.

To complete the picture, the soils in the area are waterproof. The liquid passes through them, but it is not absorbed, instead it travels to the sea. All this has led to the arrival of the strong squall minerva Last week, the waters accumulated causing the terrible floods that we have seen.

a worrisome future

po valley

The fertile Po Valley, one of the places where flooding has been most severe

But, if these floods have been terrible, the forecasts for the future are no less so. The Italian Minister of Civil Protection, Nello Musumecci, has raised what should be done so that a catastrophe like the one now does not happen again. According to him, a new hydraulic infrastructure program. The engineering approach in the area has to change.

But, already in 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the ONU warned about the danger of these happening extreme weather events. He pointed out that our greenhouse gas emissions were beginning to cause such phenomena. The heat waves They are the best proof of this, but the extreme rains also reflect it.

In fact, the floods in Italy are not the only ones that have occurred in recent times. In addition, the great precipitations have occurred in points very distant from each other on the planet. For example, two years ago there were terrible floods in Germany and Belgium what caused 220 deaths. Likewise, in the distant California it went from a severe drought to a rain storm that even caused the reappearance of a lake that had dried up years ago.

According to Gabe Vecchi, a climatologist at Princeton University, the rains are getting heavier in many places at the same time. Likewise, the reports of the aforementioned Organization of the United Nations express that torrential rainfall much more frequent since 1950.

In conclusion, the floods in italy They have been devastating and tragic. But, according to the experts, it is not an isolated episode, but they are fruit of climate change. This causes very intense rain phenomena to become more and more frequent.

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