Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

2012 is the year of natural disasters

The arno river rising – taken by Brenda Dionisi (The Florentine)after the recent downpours.

Image below by my awesome friend Erin.

Florence on a normal day – pic taken by Erin Duffy

Hey you! Yes I am talking to you mother nature. You can just go ahead, take a xanax and calm down already. If I was the suspicious type, I might actually think the Mayans were onto something. In any case I am seriously considering having a party on Dec. 21, 2012 to celebrate the non-ending of the world. If you want to read a fun-or-scary article about possible ways the world might be instinct sometime soon, I found this interesting/disturbing one online.

This year has been crazy and I am not just talking about the American elections. The Earth is getting warmer, venice seems to close to floating away, and for the global warming skeptics out there – you deserve to get slapped by Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.

As an American I am acutely aware of living in a country where mother nature regularly likes to show us that she means business. Growing up in Louisiana, hurricanes were the norm and it didn’t get much better in Texas. When finally safely out of hurricane and tornadoes wrath, we instead had the pleasure of flash floods, hail, drought, fires, and everything else that comes with living in Texas. I always thought of these things when every yet another person would claim how Texas is the best state in the country – or rather its own country. Yes..but it is 95 degrees and March..  Oh well we can always float down the river and drink beer. 

Instead when I moved to California, it seemed like everything was ok until I realized that about every 150 years – the San Andreas fault was supposed to welcome us with a huge devestating earthquake. That doesn’t even count the other quakes that happen like the one in 1994 –  a 6.7-magnitude quake that hit the Northridge area of the city, badly damaging freeways, killing more than 70 people and causing $20 billion in damages. The last major quake in Los Angeles was a 7.9 magnitude quake in 1857. Yep, from 2003 until the year I left forever to Italy it seemed all anyone could talk about is when the “big one” would hit and how no-one wanted to be stuck downtown when it happened. Great.

Luckily the worst thing that happened while I lived in Los Angeles was ‘carmageddon‘ and the annoying police helicopters hovering above my neighborhood at the border of Toluca Lake & North Hollywood.

Fast forward and from 2007 on Florence is now home. Sweet beautiful Florence with no natural disasters in sight. In 2009 heavy snow fell on Florence trapping cars and buses on freeways and streets and with an armageddon-like-resilience people found their way home trekking through the snow. Check out the photos below. 

I knew that earthquakess, landslides happen in Italy but as long as Florence was safe – I felt at home. I could even handle a repeat of 2009 and I’ll even craft my own snowshoes. But the recent photos, videos of the flooding all over Italy has really made me wonder, we could be closer to 1966 than we think.

building in Florence with a white marker on the wall (top) showing how high the water of the Arno River came during the great 1966 flooding

Venice has reached the highest level of water since 2008 and scores of other Italian towns have had some pretty severe flooding mainly Massa-Carrara, the Lunigiana area, the provinces of Pisa and Lucca and in Maremma. You can read more about it here, photos from Grossetto here and the damage in Tuscany from above here. In Massa Carrara there was not only flooding but landslides to boot and luckily they already have some generous ‘mud angels’ (volunteers) headed up there to help clean the city and save anything they can. Check out these very awesome people below and shake their hands.

It frightens me to see all of these disasters one after the other. From New Jersey’s Seaside heights completely destroyed to Maremma under a dark brown muck of water. I truly hope that we are spared the rest of the year from mother nature and the sheer disaster she can reap on us all. She is like one of General Petraeus’s scorned lovers.

I would like to hear from you guys. Do you think agree that this is the new ‘norm?’

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0 Responses

  1. I saw a building with a high water mark like that around the corner from Santa Croce. Is your picture from around there too. The high water in the Arno is real scary.

    1. it is from around there, near the national library! luckily its been sunny the past two days so we are safe…for now

  2. I don’t think it’s the new norm, I think things happen. Remember the Dec 2004 – summer 2005 period with the Indian Ocean Tsunami killing hundreds of thousands of ppl in several countries, and Katrina hitting the S Coast not many months later? Then the fires that wrecked Cali (not abnormal). And more recently the fires in Texas? There’s always something. Heck, Pompeii wasn’t pretty and that was a *long* time ago. I think people are and maybe always have been doomsday sayers. Besides, Venice is only at it’s 6th deepest flooding -that means it’s been way worse 5 times! Crazy!

    Anyhoodle, interesting article! Love it and the photos

    1. I hope its not the new norm..but I hope we as human beings start taking better care of our earth. While we can’t stop mother nature we certainly can be more conscious about our own emissions and its effect on the globe

  3. You mention the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and having lived in North Hollywood. I grew up right in the heart of the San Fernando Valley! Such a small world. I actually lived in Northridge when the Northridge quake hit. I was 12. I’ll never forget it.

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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