UK

British tourist ‘has never known wind like it’ as Storm Ciaran batters Italy

A geography teacher from Birmingham who was on holiday in Italy when Storm Ciaran swept across the region said she “didn’t realise how bad the storm was going to be”.

Emma Thom, 47, travelled to Marina di Pisa, a seaside town home to the Port of Pisa in Tuscany, with her sister, who is also a teacher, on October 28 when Storm Ciaran hit the area on Thursday.

The storm brought record-breaking rainfall to Italy, producing floods in a vast stretch of the Tuscany region leaving residents trapped in their homes and vehicles submerged.

Photos taken by Ms Thom show the seafront littered with debris and broken bits of wood, while images captured in the town show partly submerged vehicles and flooded roads.

The seafront in Marina di Pisa covered in debris following Storm Ciaran
The seafront in Marina di Pisa covered in debris following Storm Ciaran Emma Thom, who travelled to Tuscany with her sister, said they had ‘never known wind like it’ as Storm Ciaran hit the region (Emma Thom/PA)

Ms Thom, a secondary school teacher, told the PA news agency: “To be honest, I didn’t realise how bad the storm was going to be.

“We got caught up in a load of rain on Thursday and we’ve never known wind like it.”

Ms Thom and her sister had booked an Airbnb in the town, which she said was not impacted by the storm, but added that the end of the road by their accommodation was “completely cut off” on Friday due to heavy flooding.

“All the flood water was at the end of the road, so we were completely cut off from Pisa because there was no transport or buses or anything,” she said.

Cars in the town partly submerged following heavy flooding
Cars in the town partly submerged following heavy flooding Cars in the town were left partly submerged in water following heavy rainfall (Emma Thom/PA)

“We couldn’t get out because the main road was flooded.”

She added: “You couldn’t walk by the seafront in the morning because of the gusts.”

Ms Thom said she saw damage to homes and businesses in the town, adding that the military, the police and the fire brigade were called in to assist with the clean-up process.

“Businesses were affected, one of the supermarkets had flooded,” she said.

“Most of the businesses were closed off and there was quite a lot of flooding to people’s homes.

“The schools were also shut.”

She said that “they had the military, the police and the fire brigade in the town” on Friday, adding that it was a “really nice community spirit” as “everyone was helping each other out”.

“There was lots of clearing up debris and lots of trees had come down.”

Ms Thom and her sister will be flying back to the UK on Saturday, with Ms Thom saying she was “a bit stressed” on Friday about their travel arrangements with the weather, but she added that buses were running and flights were going ahead as planned.