Hurricanes and Mudslides in Calabria

Quite a few people have asked me how Calabria has been affected by the nasty weather that’s hit southern Italy recently, so I thought I’d write about it here.

In case you don’t know, we’ve had a truly devastating amount of rain and hurricane-strength winds (in fact, we *did* have an uragano here a few weeks ago). The older villagers tell me that they haven’t seen this much rain since the big flood in the 1950s, which, incidentally, washed a group of houses off the mountain.

Well, although the rain is a pain when it’s time to take the girls for a walk, I, personally, have been rather lucky and haven’t had damage other than a snapped phone line.

The main road up to the village? Not so much:

Storm damage in Calabria on Flickr

This was a few weeks ago. That part was cleaned up rather quickly, but other sections of the road are cordoned off because some of the sides have simply fallen off. But our travel to and from the village hasn’t been stopped at all, so I have to give props to the local government for staying on top of the damage.

Have you been having crazy weather where you are?

22 Beans of Wisdom to “Hurricanes and Mudslides in Calabria”
  1. Gil

    We’ve had over a month of below freezing weather. It has been many years since we have had snow on the ground for as long as we have this Winter. Also, there are bodies of water that have frozen over for the first time in about twenty of years. Of course to the ‘Old Timers’ that live in my area of Connecticut this is just a ‘Good Ole Fashioned Winter’! I think the weather has gone crazy all over the World this year. Just look a the devastating fires in Australia and the snow in the UK.

    OK I like old-fashioned things, but apparently not old-fashioned winters….

  2. 02.10.2009

    Michelle, it’s been bad here. Down the road from us, a retaining wall broke, and the water filled earth rushed down, bringing with it half a house (a rustico) which was being renovated. The earth simply cannot take any more moisture! Yesterday we had a beautiful, sunny day, the first full day of sun in months. We got so much done in such a short time — we have a lot of pent-up energy!!

    While Piemonte has suffered, it pales in comparison with what has been going on in Calabria. It has been quite a winter. Let’s just hope for a calm, temperate, sunny spring…. 🙂

    Diana Strinati Baur’s last blog post..An Afternoon in Torino

    I’ve been seeing photos from your way as well…terrible to be *stuck*, and so often…cabin fever is real 😉

  3. Michelle the Tiber is swollen again. Yesterday the sun came out but it’s raining again today and is expected to rain most of this week and next.

    I also hope we have a nice calm sunny spring.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Who is Lady GaGa and what does she have against pants?

    The poor Tiber this year! We’re supposed to get rain again tomorrow too….

  4. 02.10.2009

    We had some very bad weather in December – heavy rain, flooding where many people lost their houses or their houses were damaged badly, and rare thunder and lightening storms that even knocked out power on the entire island while Obama was here vacationing. That was the 2nd time I lost power for over 8 hours in two weeks. In January, we experienced very cold weather (for us) and high winds. The winds even were predicted to be at hurricane speed a couple of weeks ago, resulting in our first canceled school day in 17 years. The last time school was canceled we had a hurricane. Thankfully the storm ended up being a dud and passed north of us. So far February has been nice. The positive in all of this is that everything is nice and green. I didn’t realize Calabria could have hurricane strength winds. I sure hope all this crazy weather everywhere calms down soon.

    girasoli’s last blog well traveled are you?

    I’m just hoping this doesn’t mean an extra extra hot summer…July and August are already plenty hot for me!

  5. 02.10.2009

    Oh yes we have had crazy weather, …. snow that cut the UK off..well nearly.

    Now Rain, which will cause floods with the melted snow.
    One area in the North of England, lost Gas and Electricity for a while, some I think waiting to be reconnected..
    Weather warnings in place, rain sleet and snow on the way to the south of England…!!!

    But to have hurricane winds and mudslides must be horrendous….hope it all changes very very soon!! 🙂

    anne’s last blog post..Snowy Walk!!

    We’re rather used to the winds as we have strong winds frequently, but the rain…we actually have rivers whereas usually they’re just ditches 😉

  6. joanne at frutto della passione

    Snow, lots of snow. Now you may be thinking, but you’re in Northern Italy, you’re supposed to get snow. The truth is, snow in Milan is rare and we have had more snow this winter than in the last 12 years combined. Now compared to winters in Canada, this is a piece of cake. I have nice, warm, comfy snow boots and I wear them without shame, I do however see lots of women out on the streets wearing their pretty shoes with snow up to their ankles. We’re supposed to get more next week.

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Nutella truffles

    Thank goodness for warm boots! I’m not living with the snow, but it definitely seems to me I’ve seen way more snowy photos this year than ever before….

  7. 02.10.2009

    In Sydney last week we had a heat wave, where the temperature was over 40 degrees celcius every day and we were struggling to keep cool. Now we have a cold snap with temps in the 20’s and we are all wearing jumpers. It’s totally crazy !!

    That *is* crazy Vee…sudden shifts are especially bad for the body 🙁

  8. 02.10.2009

    Supposed to get to around 50 degrees in NY this week. It’s crazy- but hey- I’ll take it 🙂

    My Melange’s last blog post..Travel Tip Tuesday -Destination Quebec City

    Yeah somehow the crazy good weather doesn’t bother me as much either 😉

  9. 02.10.2009

    What can I say? You know what goes on here in Maine!

    I will say that for any geographical area, an unexpected shift that is unusual can bring loss when the locals have never had to be prepared and don’t know how and don’t build for it (here we are prepared, we do know how but we still don’t build for it!! Go figure).

    I hope you dry out soon – but if it does start snowing, you already have the boots!

    anna l’americana’s last blog post..Unstoppable Fire….

    They tell me it snowed further up in the mountains yesterday, but in any event, YES I’m prepared! Here at least the buildings are prepared for pretty much anything, although we are in an earthquake zone….

  10. 02.10.2009

    So sorry to “hear” about the bad weather that came your way but hopefully it’s behind you now. That’s great that the town was able to clean up the mess so quickly though.

    We’re right outside Philadelphia and it was in the 20s with snow last week (we were thankfully on vacation and weren’t around to have to deal with it) and I’m hoping that was the last snow of the season. I’m ready for spring and warmer weather!

    Lisa’s last blog post..The most wonderful time of the year…

    I hate to say it, but I remember many a snowfall in March, Lisa…hopefully it won’t be too bad at least 🙂

  11. 02.10.2009

    Luckily it’s been nothing as bad as you’ve had. Nashville, TN went from approximately 6 degrees to 68 degrees in a week. Al Gore lives down the road, and I’m sure he’s having a fit 😉

    Wow, that is an amazing temperature shift! Too funny about Al 😉

  12. 02.10.2009

    Ciao Michelle!
    Thanks for posting about how things are down there for you. I have been thinking of you when I see the news on tv of all the flooding and mudslides. I am a reader of your blog, but this is first time I have added my “two beans”… so ciao! I am not too far away from you to the north. I am from America, but I live now on the Amalfi Coast in Campania. The weather here has been terrible, but fortunately there haven’t been any major mudslides. All those metal nets they put up on the mountains here on the coast are doing their job! But there are little frana on just about every road. And the port in Amalfi has been battered by all the rain and strong waves (you can see photos I just posted yesterday on my blog). You had a uragano?? How did I miss that? I grew up in Florida and had my fair share of hurricane scares, but I didn’t know there was such a thing here. I would love to hear more about it.

    Stay warm and dry down there!

    Laura’s last blog post..The power of the sea

    Well ciao Laura! Pleased to meet you 🙂 I’ve been through a couple hurricanes in North Carolina, but this one wasn’t nearly as scary…I think it’s because we *often* get very high winds and also our buildings are made of stone and cement, not wood 😉 Thanks for stopping by; will check out your blog and link to you ASAP!

  13. Karina

    I think the weather is just crazy everywhere! Here in the Dominican Republic we are actually having a quite cold and windy winter, when usually we have no winter at all. At night, it’s literally chilly and even in the day you have to bundle up a bit sometimes. Of course, people in the US keep telling me it cannot be cold at all, but hey, for a Caribbean country, it’s been really cold!

    Karina’s last blog post..Mornings

    I hear you Karina, and I’m sympathetic 😉

  14. 02.11.2009

    We’ve had insane weather this winter. Most years we get no snow. This year we had over a foot in December, which basically shut the city down for ten days because we’re not equipped for that, and now it’s snowing again today. Weird. We’re much luckier here than in the eastern part of the state, however. They are normally cold and snowy in the winter, but this year, they got over five feet in a matter of few days. Roofs were collapsing and rivers flooded so badly that parts of the state were declared federal disaster areas. I’ll be very happy to see spring this year.

    flurrious’s last blog post..Exclusive! Unfamous Nobody Speaks!

    It’s so much worse when a place just isn’t used to it or prepared…such a mess 🙁

  15. 02.11.2009

    It seems everyone is having crazy weather 🙁 We are getting rain in the middle of February which is shutting everything down because it’s making the roads into skating rinks!! Literally. People have been skating down the road! And it was just -50 degrees here a few weeks ago. I’d just like spring. Just a plain normal spring. Hope your weather shapes up soon.

    Erin’s last blog post..“Pee”nut gallery

    Yes, plain and normal would be *fabulous* 🙂

  16. 02.11.2009

    Wow, how terrible! 🙁 Thanks for sharing this information, and the photo. The weather is crazy all around the world, isn’t it?

    Michele’s last blog post..25 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me

    Indeed, Michele 🙁

  17. 02.11.2009

    I feel almost guilty. In DC, it’s not the weather so much…the weird cold & weird warm a la Nashville & parts south. It’s the political weather. Ahem. I’m up late & fuming. So while I am sorry to hear about the bad Calabrian weather, I’m glad you & your family are OK. Friends not that far away from you are in the States so no doubt I wasn’t aware because they aren’t home. I am very upset about Australia. That weird weather that Al Gore is having a fit about, no doubt, (& so am I) iis just what was predicted. Not just warming but “weirdness.” Ugh. OK, back to looking at recipes & calm down. Must buy Nutella tomorrow. I’ll be as big as a house if I’m not careful. ciao all.

    Well Nutella doesn’t actually help with climate change, but it sure makes me feel better 😉

  18. 02.11.2009

    Tell me about crazy weather. When I was in Calabria it rained non stop in November and December so much so that the whole town entrance was blocked off by stones, dirt and anything else that washed down the mountainside as a pipe burst in the river above the village.

    Now I am in Melbourne and we have the extreme opposite…no rain for months and bush fires still alight state wide.

    Leanne in Italy’s last blog post..Bush fires in Victoria

    Ugh you’re getting it from all over 🙁

  19. 02.11.2009

    I understand just what Karina is saying. Same type of crazy weather for us…although we really don’t get much sympathy and understandably so 🙂

    I came back to comment that I just read a blog where they got snow, enough to cover the ground, roofs, etc, and not melt immediately in So. Cal 45 mins from Palm Springs! Now that is really crazy!

    I hope you have a mild summer also.

    girasoli’s last blog post..the letter G

    We’re expecting snow this week…crazy!

  20. 02.17.2009


    I just Googled Calabria, Italy and found your blog. Wow, your weather really does sound extreme! We live near Chicago (NW Indiana) and have had a very cold and snowy winter so far. This is after a tornado in August and a 100-yr flood in September. Unreal….

    What brought me to you (besides Google) was my research for a trip my family is taking in late March. We have Chicago-Rome-Chicago flights arriving 3/19 and departing 3/28, and we’re trying to figure out the best use of our 9 nights. Originally, we were going to spend 3 nights in Sorrento, 1 night near Paestum, and the rest of the time in or near Rome, but some feedback I’ve been getting for my post on the Rick Steves travel forum makes me think that we should plan the bulk of our time much further south at that time of the year. What do you think?

    We are a family of four (mom=50, dad=50, son=21, son=18) who would like to “experience” Italy rather than breeze through it. My hubby and I did some shore excursions during a Western European cruise a few years back, but otherwise that’s all the experience we have with Italy. (We LOVED what we saw, however short the time we had, however). Our sons have never been to Europe at all, so they’re pretty much up for anything. (Okay, maybe not spending day after day in museums, but just about anything else).

    Anyway, I hope it’s okay that I’m adding this message to your blog. I was just so stoked to find an American living in Calabria that I just had to post!

    Many thanks in advance,

    Hi Melissa and welcome!

    I think you’d do best to pick out the things you want to see and damn the weather, more or less…it’s unpredictable anyway so it’d be a shame to be seeing things you didn’t necessarily want to see in the rain and cold…might as well see things you like if the weather doesn’t cooperate! Your trip as planned actually sounds quite lovely to me. I do recommend hitting Pompeii if you can. That is *definitely* done if it’s a bit cooler as the place is like a desert.

    If you have more questions, etc., please feel free to ask in a comment or via the contact form (link in the navigation bar) 🙂

  21. 04.19.2009

    As Leanne said above, the weather has also been dreadful here in Australia – we’ve been here researching and writing books since late last year and we’ve had it all: we had floods in Alice Springs in October, hurricane-like winds in southern Western Australia in December, heatwaves in South Australia in January, bushfires in Victoria in February, floods in Queensland and New South Wales in March and April… it’s insane… and my friends back in Dubai tell me it’s been raining non-stop (it rarely rains, let alone rains in April!). While the weather gets everyone talking, I wish it would get people more active on the fight against global warning.

    So true, Lara; sometimes people need a push to put 2 and 2 together….

  22. William Kiaune

    You take care and watch yourself.. enjoy your blog too much.
    We are now in Austin,Texas a far cry from Northport, Maine. We are visiting our 3 sons who all live here. We return to Maine and the snow and cold next Tuesday. Again you take care.

    Aw, thanks so much William! Things are fine here right now; the weather took a turn for the better a couple days ago and we’ve had quite a bit of sun since then…hopefully that has dried out all that mud! But now you’ve had that terrible incident in Austin with the plane flying into the IRS building! I hope you and your loved ones are all safe. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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