Deadly floods swept through Northern Italy on Wednesday, killing at least eight people, and thousands more evacuating the region.
Persistent, heavy rain led Italian authorities to place the Emilia Romagna region under a red threat-level warning due to the potential of flooding and landslides. The worst hit areas of the region received almost 20 inches of rain in 36 hours, according to the New York Times.
AP reported that the country’s deputy chief of the Civil Protection agency, Titti Postiglione, said that rescue operations for those needing emergency evacuations were particularly difficult given so many roads and routes were flooded and phone service interrupted.
Extreme weather events have been on the rise in Italy. In 2022, the hottest year on record in Italy, 310 extreme weather events were registered, resulting in the deaths of 29 people, according to Legambiente, an environmental group.
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Formula 1’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was set to be held in Imola this weekend (May 19-21), but was canceled, with the organization saying in a Twitter statement on May 17th that they did not want to burden the emergency services in the region as they deal with extreme weather conditions. Thousands of fans were set to descend onto the region this weekend for the race.
Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, had called for the race to be postponed as the extreme weather conditions hit the region. He said in a statement it was “imperative to concentrate all efforts on coping with the emergency”, and avoid a traffic overload in an area still in need of relief. The area’s electricity and cell phone networks have also been severely affected.
The Formula 1 season features a globe-spanning circuit that travels from country to country on a tight schedule. One leg was held in Miami two weeks ago and the circuit will move on to Monaco by the end of the month. It is unclear if the event in Italy will be rescheduled. If it is not, the circuit will have 22 F1 races this year, rather than setting a record as planned with 23.
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