Storm Ciaran claims five lives in Tuscany and washes cars down street

Storm Ciaran claims five lives in Tuscany and washes cars down the street as eight inches of rain falls in three hours, flooding the River Arno – bringing European death toll to 12

  • Floods affected vast swathe of region as Storm Ciaran pushed into Italy today

Storm Ciaran has claimed five more lives as record-breaking rainfall produced floods that hit a vast swathe of Tuscany as Storm Ciaran pushed into Italy today, trapping residents in their homes, inundating hospitals and overturning cars.

Nearly eight inches of rain fell in three hours, flooding the River Arno, with the storm’s death toll in western Europe rising to 12. 

Dramatic scenes showed at least a dozen cars getting pushed down the road at night by a gushing muddy current.

‘There was a wave of water bombs without precedence,’ Tuscany governor Eugenio Giani told Italian news channel Sky TG24 as he tried to describe the downpour.

He reported the five deaths on social media and posted photos of vast inland areas inundated by the flooding.

At least a dozen cars could be seen getting pushed down the road at night 

A gushing muddy current swept through the streets after heavy rainfall

An aerial view shows flooding following heavy rains in Prato, Tuscany, Italy November 3, 2023

The dead in Tuscany included an 85-year-old man found in the flooded ground floor of his home near the city of Prato, north of Florence, and an 84-year-old woman who died while trying to push water out of her home in the same area, according to Italian news agency ANSA. Another victim was reported in Livorno.

At least three people were missing in Tuscany, and one person was reported missing in the mountains of Veneto, north of Venice. Other regions were on high alert and authorities warned that the storm was heading towards southern Italy.

Ciaran left at least seven people dead as it swept across Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany on Thursday. The storm devastated homes, caused travel mayhem and cut power to a vast number of people.

As the storm moved on, it left hospitals flooded in Italy’s Pisa and Mugello. Throughout Tuscany, train lines and roads were disrupted and schools were closed.

The mayor of Prato expressed shock at the force of the flood that devastated the city overnight. By early Friday, residents were working to clean the damage.

‘A blow to the stomach, a pain that brings tears. But even after an evening and night of devastation, we are pulling up our sleeves to clean and bring our city back to normality,’ mayor Matteo Biffoni posted on social media.

A woman tries to clean the mud in Montemurlo near Prato after heavy rain last night, on November 3, 2023

Italian firefighters work in flooded streets in the Tuscany region, Italy, November 3, 2023

This photo taken and handout on November 3, 2023 by the Vigili del Fuoco, the Italian Corps. of Firefighters, shows Italian firefighters working to evacuate people from flooded houses in Campi Bisenzio, near Florence, after the storm Ciaran hit Tuscany, late on November 2, 2023

Rescuers use inflatable boats to recover people after flooding in Campi Bisenzio, Italy, on November 3, 2023

A man walks in the mud in Montemurlo, near Prato, after heavy rain last night, on November 3, 2023

A flooded street after the storm in Campi Bisenzio, Florence, Italy, on November 3, 2023

Cars are partially submerged after heavy rainfall causes flooding in Florence, Italy on November 2, 2023

Florence mayor Dario Nardella said that the Arno River, which runs through the centre of the city, had reached the first level of alert, with the highest levels forecast for midday.

‘The psychological fear is high, considering that tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1966 flood,’ Mr Nardella said, recalling a flood that killed 101 people and damaged or destroyed millions of artistic masterpieces and rare books.

In Austria’s southern province of Carinthia, which borders Italy and Slovenia, wind and heavy rain on Thursday night led to landslides, blocked roads and power cuts. About 1,600 households were without electricity early Friday, the Austria Press Agency reported.

The storm receded in northern France and the Atlantic coast on Friday, but heavy rain continued in some regions as emergency workers cleared away debris from the day before.

There were reports of the storm producing winds of up to 170 kph along much of the Northern France coast. 

A resident posted images online of the damage caused in western Brittany in the early hours of Thursday.

Wooden planks were seen speared into the wall of a French apartment building due to the storm. 

Wooden planks speared into wall of French apartment building November 2 2023

Posting the images on X, formerly Twitter, Yann Servais wrote: ‘Wooden planks literally planted by the force of the wind in the wall of a residence in Relecq-Kerhuon last night’

Posting the images on X, formerly Twitter, Yann Servais wrote: ‘Wooden planks literally planted by the force of the wind in the wall of a residence in Relecq-Kerhuon last night.’

Meanwhile, Corsica in the Mediterranean faced unusually fierce winds on Friday – up to 87mph.

More than a half a million French households remained without electricity for a second day, mainly in the western region of Brittany. Trains were halted in several areas and many roads remained closed.

French President Emmanuel Macron was travelling to storm-ravaged areas of Brittany on Friday and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne was travelling to hard-hit areas of Normandy.

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