Ticino cities brace for more rain — and flooding

Ticino cities brace for more rain — and flooding
Photo: City of Locarno
The canton of Ticino in southern Switzerland is bracing for further flooding after two weeks of rain with more precipitation forecast in the region for Saturday.

On Thursday, residents got a break from the deluge that has inundated basements, closed roads and forced evacuations of medical patients in Locarno and surrounding areas.

The sun shone for the first time in three days but civil protection workers continued to prepare for more high water, the ATS news agency reported.

A team of 50 workers has installed temporary elevated walkways to allow pedestrians in Locarno to navigate flooded streets.

The city said that boats and rafts have also been available to help residents get around, while traffic has been diverted from affected roads.

In the past two weeks close to 500 millimetres of rain has fallen on Italian-speaking Locarno, MeteoNews reported.

In Robiei in the western part of Ticino 555mm of rain has been measured, while Lugano registered 399mm.

By comparison, 53mm of rain fell in Bern and 50mm in Zurich over the same period.

The level of Lake Maggiore, which traverses the Swiss-Italian border, is at its second-highest level in 150 years, according to reports.

Civil protection workers say they have used a technical program developed by a local university (SUSPI) that has allowed them to visualize the impact of precipitation on flooding, ATS said.

That allowed them to plan the evacuation and relocation of 80 patients from a Locarno medical clinic, 50 metres from the edge of lake Maggiore, earlier this week.

Close to 600 residents in Ticino have been impacted by flooding, while a landslide in a rural area west of Lugano last week swept a house down a hillside, killing a 31-year-old woman and her three-year-old daughter.

Rain has also played havoc south of the border in Italy.

On Wednesday, a 70-year-old man drowned in the southern part of Lake Maggiore at Ispra, after falling in the water while trying to secure his boat, local media reported.

At least four other people have died in northern Italy in incidents related to the latest rain storms, while 60 schools were closed in the Milan area, according to a report from AFP. 


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