Flooding, rising river raise concerns over F1 race in Italy
IMOLA, Italy (AP) — Flooding and a rising river next to the track have raised concerns over the running of this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, with all Formula One personnel told to stay away from the circuit on Wednesday.
After torrential rains, parking and other areas of the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit were flooded and therefore evacuated. Flooding has hit large parts of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy, including the town of Cesena less than 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Imola.
Residents in certain high-risk areas of Imola were told by authorities to move to higher floors of their homes and buildings and to turn off gas and electricity.
More rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week, with practice due to start Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.
Teams had already started setting up their garages.
The Santerno River runs right next to the track.
“We’re fully hoping that by Thursday the situation will be under control,” Angelo Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club, which oversees all racing in the country, told the La Presse news agency. “There should be a break in the bad weather, which should provide the chance for the Santerno to go back within the riverbed.
“We’re seeing that on Friday and Saturday the rain shouldn’t be torrential, and on Sunday morning there shouldn’t be anything terrible," Sticchi Damiani added. "But it’s key that by Thursday things get under control and that the river recedes. For now, we’re interested in the problems that the local population are experiencing. Then we’ll see but we’re hoping it all gets under control.”
Rivers swollen by days of downpours flooded some towns in northern Italy on Tuesday, forcing some residents to rooftops, while in Venice, authorities prepared to activate a mobile barrier in the lagoon in hopes of sparing the city from a rare May high-tide flooding.
After the Savio River overflowed its banks in the town of Cesena, in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, some residents of heavily flooded streets took to rooftops to await rescue by helicopters, Italian firefighters said.
The nearly 100,000 residents of the town were told to avoid the temptation to view the raging waters and not to stay on ground floors if they lived near the river.
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