From our blog itPalermo
Storm in Palermo, on the day of Santa Rosalia, the city’s “protégé”, it was dramatic. On the day of the feast, the great demonstration in honor of the Saint that was not held this year, a sudden cloudburst flooded the city. The so-called “water bomb” – said the first citizen Leoluca Orlando – “is even the most violent rain since 1790”. Yesterday in two hours a quantity of water “equal to that which falls in a year” fell, said Orlando.
The inconvenience to citizenship is almost immediate. Between 130 and 150 mm of rain, concentrated in two hours of lightning and lightning, they quickly flooded several areas of the city. At first there was talk of two victims drowned in one of the underpasses of the expressway inside the city, viale Regione Siciliana. The news was denied only in the morning today with the recovery operations in the flooded areas. Dozens of cars that had remained completely submerged underwater and that today have all been recovered (empty).
Submerged subways and blocked citizens
Since yesterday, some witnesses involved in the fast-flowing maxi-floods have been talking about two people trapped underwater. Divers have yet to find anything to support these claims. Since yesterday, citizenship has been in controversy with the administration and the specter of responsibility for what were “two sure victims” has further rock the boat. Certainly there is the hospitalization of two children in conditions of hypothermia due to prolonged contact with water in the car, near the ring road. Just as it is certain that the Palermo sewers are not prepared for similar events, nor for others that are much lighter.
No weather warnings about the storm in Palermo
The regional civil protection had not issued any weather warnings. For yesterday, the forecast level for weather conditions was green and with “generic vigilance”. A situation complained by the Mayor of Palermo himself who immediately after the storm, in a post on Facebook, wrote: «If the alert had been issued, ordinary procedures would have been activated which, despite the extraordinary nature of today’s events, could have mitigate the risks ».
Rap and Amap did not act immediately
What happens when an alert level starts from yellow? Rap, the company that deals with waste, and Amap, the municipalized company that also controls manholes, would have activated an extraordinary preventive mobilization. The procedures are directly connected to the weather alert which, as already mentioned, has not been fixed and disseminated, both for the unforeseen exceptionality and for the speed of the storm. Lots of manholes blown in different areas of the city, traffic in tilt since yesterday, crazy and overflowing social networks of historians, meteorologists and jackals (top trend on Twitter after just an hour from the storm).
The data from the meteorological hut located at the top of the Pisan Tower, in the Royal Palace, describe an event that has something incredible. In two hundred years of observation and recording, such a July had never been seen. Add to this that in two hours more or less a fifth of the rain that falls in an “average” year for the Sicilian capital has rained. It had never rained so much since 1797. Scrolling through the rainfall data, however, one realizes that Palermo is somewhat familiar with floods and floods. From the great floods to the time of the Arabs until the thirties when the historic center saw its “submerged” (and suppressed) rivers on the surface.
Rain and devastation in many areas
There have been over 300 interventions by the Fire Brigade, including the eviction of several homes. The firefighters evacuated buildings at risk of collapse between via Marabitti and via Spedalieri. In some buildings there are cracks that have even prevented the closing of some doors. In the Baida area – a high and mountainous area of Palermo – a stream of water and mud has dragged some cars for hundreds of meters. The same happened in the same fast scrolling, the negative protagonist of the videos arrived on television and on the web.
“What has happened must push us even further to a profound reflection” declares Leoluca Orlando referring to that “development model that is increasingly altering the relationship between man and the environment and the climate of our planet”. “In these moments – Orlando reiterated – the whole municipal machine is committed to dealing with this unannounced emergency with the utmost commitment and professionalism”.