Italy – Hundreds Evacuated as Rivers Reach Record Levels in North

The River Enza in the town of own of Lentigione, Italy, burst its banks on Tuesday 12 December, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate.

Severe weather including snow, rain and freezing temperatures has affected much of Italy since Monday 11 December. Schools have been closed and road, rail and air travel all adversely affected. Several flights from Turin-Caselle Airport were delayed as a result of the cold temperatures.

Heavy rain has affected the north eastern regions of Emilia-Romagna, Liguria and Tuscany in particular.


In Lentigione houses have been flooded by the overflowing Enza river. Fire fighters have used a helicopters and boats to evacuate around 400 people. Hundreds of others are also thought to have evacuated and regional officials say the total stands at around 1,000.

Some evacuations were also carried out in Boretto province and fire fighters in boats rescued three people from the town of Colorno when the Parma river flooded.

Relief centres have been set up for those displaced and the entire civil protection system has been mobilized in response to the flooding.

Flooding after the River Enza broke its banks in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, December 2017. Photo: Emilia-Romagna Government

Rivers at Record Levels

According to local officials, the Enza in the valley of Sorbolo in Parma Province reached a level of 12.44 metres on 12 December, higher than the previous record high of 11.63 set in February 2016.

The Secchia river reached a height of 10.55 meters at Ponte Alto, exceeding the previous high of 10.28 set in December 2009.

Regional Councilor for Civil Protection Paola Gazzolo said “We are in the presence of floods of historical significance, never recorded in the past, with regards to the Secchia in Modena, the Enza, and the Parma and Lorno rivers in Parma.”

Liguria and Tuscany

In Liguria Region, levels of the Entella, Vara and Magra rivers are extremely high and threatening to break their banks.

In Tuscany the Serchio river overflowed in Lucca. No evacuations have been reported but the Civil Protection Agency is monitoring the situation.

At least six people died after heavy rainstorms and flooding in the city of Livorno, Tuscany, in September this year after a storm dumped over twice the monthly rainfall in just 2 hours.

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Flood Summary

Last updated: December 14, 2017
Northern Italy, December 2017
December 11, 2017
River flood
Extreme rainfall, Snow melt


A - Lentigione
B - Boretto
C - Colorno
D - Sorbolo
E - Lucca
F - Rubiera
G - Modena


River level
12.44 metres
Enza River at Sorbolo - December 12 to December 12, 2017
Previous record 11.63 metres from February 2016
River level
10.55 metres
Secchia river, Ponte Alto - December 12 to December 12, 2017
Previous record was 10.28 metres set in December 2009
Rainfall level
89.8 mm in 24 hours
Cervia - December 12 to December 13, 2017
Rainfall level
63 mm in 24 hours
Aviano - December 11 to December 12, 2017
Rainfall level
75.8 mm in 24 hours
Genova / Sestri - December 11 to December 12, 2017
Rainfall level
70 mm in 24 hours
Venezia / Tessera - December 10 to December 11, 2017
Rainfall level
60 mm in 24 hours
Ronchi Dei Legionari - December 10 to December 11, 2017
River level
9.49 metres
Parma river, Parma - December 12 to December 12, 2017
previous record high was 9.14 set in 2014


Emilia-Romagna - December 12 to December 13, 2017
Most of the evacuations were in Lentigione. Some also evacuated in Colorno (Parma) and Boretto. Civil Protection said on 13 December that around 60 people were evacuated as a result of the Secchia river overflowing between Rubiera and the northern border of the province of Modena.

2 thoughts on “Italy – Hundreds Evacuated as Rivers Reach Record Levels in North

  1. Hi Richard

    It’s Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, not ‘Italian Prime Minister Paola Gazzolo’. Paola is the ‘assessore alla sicurezza territoriale’ for the region.

    Sorry, carry on…

    1. Richard Davies

      - Edit

      Thanks Paul. Many apologies, I mixed up the quotes / names. Article now updated to show the quote was from Regional Councilor for Civil Protection, Paola Gazzolo.

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