Heavy rain, floods lash Italy; at least 5 dead in Tuscany

Torrential rain in Italy triggered flooding that killed at least five people Sunday in the Tuscan port town of Leghorn, including four family members trapped by rising water in their basement.

The Italian news agency ANSA said the bodies of a 4-year-old boy, his parents and grandfather were found in the flooded basement of their two-family home.

Some Italian media reports put the death toll at six in Leghorn, also known in Italy as Livorno. But the Tuscany Region civil protection chief, Cristiano Lucchi, said the sixth death was caused by a car accident unrelated to the flooding.

Lucchi said two persons were missing.

Leghorn Mayor Filippo Nogarin said a "a crazy amount of rain" pummeled Leghorn in the space of a few hours and "the city is literally devastated."


Strong winds toppled trees and many parked cars were nearly submerged by flood waters that also left streets clogged with mud.

Nogarin appealed for volunteers to help the town, which has a population of about 170,000 and is a popular transit point for travelers catching ferries to the islands of Elba and Sardinia.

Train service was interrupted in parts of the Tuscan coastal area along the Tyrrhenian Sea.

In Rome, which until recently had suffered through 3½ months of drought, the downpour quickly made streets resemble fast-moving streams and several subway stations were closed.

City Hall urged residents and visitors to go outside only for urgent reasons and to avoid parks after midmorning thunderstorms lashed Rome. It warned that weather forecasts including the possibility of hailstorms and strong winds throughout the rest of Sunday and Monday.