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  • Writer's pictureAlex Subrizi

Weird weather

Updated: 5 days ago

As most of the news-watching world knows by now, the US is about to default on its debts and it's been a very wet spring in northern Italy. Heavy rains this past month in the region of Emilia-Romagna have resulted in rivers breaking banks and flooding, property damage, even some loss of life. Italy's infrastructure is not as advanced as that of most other western European nations and this makes the country especially vulnerable to extreme weather. And yet, as the summer of 2021 showed, even advanced countries like Germany and Belgium can struggle to cope with heavy rain when mother nature really gets going. Lately especially, it seems mother nature has even more to tell us than Kevin McCarthy.

April and May yielded welcome amounts of rainfall at Poggiosole, with memories of last summer's drought (the effects of which were felt well beyond Tuscany) still fresh in our minds. The problem 200 km to the northeast of us was five times our May rainfall figures in just 10 days. Topography plays a part too. We're situated on a hill about 370 meters (1200 ft) above sea level, so even very heavy rains won't lead to flooding on our land, but overwhelmed infrastructure in nearby valleys and in Florence would surely impact our lives and livelihood. Older locals used to speak of a marzo pazzo (crazy March) for what concerned uneven weather, but those same old-timers now say May is the new weather wildcard, and this year's string of storms would seem to confirm this. With sole baked into our name, we were relived, this past Sunday, when the sun finally showed its face again.

And yet... as if to keep us on our toes, yesterday afternoon, out of the blue, bright sun shining on our terracotta patios, the sky to the north suddenly turned ominously dark and, shortly after, another couple of millimeters of water came down. "Don't turn your back" seemed to be the message, one that has been received all too grimly in the towns of Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, and Rimini. Extreme weather leaves one feeling helpless. In the rich world especially, we've become accustomed to thinking that our ingenuity and our advanced technologies can face down any foe. Not quite true.

Still, don't underestimate human persistence even in small things. An Austrian couple that checked out at dawn this past Sunday after a six-day sojourn during which they saw not a ray of sunshine wrote yesterday evening to book another stay in late May 2024 and, for good measure, a three-week stay next July. That's looking on the bright side 🌞 and better than the alternative, right Kevin?

Postscript, May 25: Just like the deadlock in DC, the weather in central Tuscany continues to confound. This morning's clear blue skies gave way to hail and pounding rain between noon and 3pm: another 17mm added to our May tally. Quite a show. And soggy shoes.

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