Summer · The Grey Tail

not your classic home-alone summer adventure of the week

I just thought of breaking my hiatus for a quick update on something terrible and shocking that happened yesterday in the area where I live, the Riviera del Brenta.

Italy is not exactly a tornado-friendly country, but with the climate change (especially in the past few years) these extreme, one of a kind tragedies are piling up summer after summer, getting more and more dangerous, most of all because our homes are not built to blow up easily and harmlessly.

we have stone-hard brick walls, shingle rooftops, glass windows that shatter, very old trees right next to the house, gazebos, .. when these houses were built the plan was not hey, if a tornado comes we’ll pick up what’s left and get a new pre-made home installed – and nobody I know has a safe room underground to go hide and wait it out. these are things we used to see only in films, or watch on the telly when they sadly happen in the States.

well, yesterday afternoon I had just come home from the local chemist’s to pick up BaBa’s flea treatment, and I saw the sky had turned dark and violet, quite unusual at 4PM.

I checked the weather app and nothing stroke me as insanely ominous: just rain and high winds. well, in about 90 minutes it started hailing out of nowhere, no rain, no clouds: just balls of ice falling from the sky, scattered all around the garden.

summer '15

I closed all the windows and double glazing, rushed out to check on Pablita and put the vase I didn’t have time to wash in a safer corner of the house; I picked up the few plants I hadn’t had time to sow outdoors in the morning and took them in under the rain and the hail. I stopped under the gazebo where I spotted Pablita to take a look at the sky: the clouds were chasing each other like in fast forward, the air was ice cold and the winds were blowing fiercely, pushing and pulling me in one direction or the other.

my sis and I found a downstairs window from which we could watch what was happening with BaBa on the kitchen table behind us, ears pulled to the back in fear. luckily nothing more than than happened: hail and strong winds. when the worse had passed, Pablita came out to drink the rain that was flowing like small rivers and we called it our home-alone summer adventure of the week.

summer '15

hours later the news spread that ville 5 to 10 minutes from here had been torn down to the ground, ancient stone all over the main street; houses with no rooftop as if a giant had picked it up to peep at what was going on inside, cars thrown in the canal, trees uprooted and concrete broken where there used be its roots. many people injured, some very badly, one or two fatalities, .. so much damage they immediately classified it as a calamity, a natural disaster between the F3, F4 category.

here’s a couple of links that show the entity of the damages in the towns nearby, they’re in Italian but even without the text pictures are already pretty effective:

I am very much afraid this bend of the canal doesn’t look like this anymore.

Riviera del Brenta - Dolo

Riviera del Brenta - Dolo

Riviera del Brenta - Dolo

Riviera del Brenta - Dolo

Riviera del Brenta - Dolo

– – –

I’m still shocked and terrified, and thankful, above all thankful that we managed to dodge this one. I heard of relatives that won’t forget yesterday afternoon: some lost the house, some hopefully just the roof and the gazebo, some lost their dog, sucked out of the house by the vortex.

I’m quite speechless and shellshocked but I thought you might want to know how I was doing.

take care,

chiara

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27 thoughts on “not your classic home-alone summer adventure of the week

  1. Oh my God, that’s terrible! I know, we’re not prepared for anything here, not even the sandstorms that happen every year. So glad you’re safe!

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  2. You have my deepest sympathies. I have lived all my life under the threat of tornadoes (except the 2 years I was in the UK), and just kind of don’t think much about them anymore, even when the sirens are going off and the destruction is up close & personal. But I can surely imagine how shocking these acts are when you aren’t used to them. Nothing here is built to withstand these storms, either – there’s just nothing you can do about wind or water 😦 Here’s a biggie from my childhood – I remember this day distinctly: http://www.xeniatornado.com/ I didn’t live in Xenia, but 20 miles west down the road that the tornadoes followed, and though we sustained minimal damage (lost the top 20 feet of the big pine in front of our house, we assume in a vortex or straight-line wind connected to the system), it’s just one of those things you don’t forget, even if you are only marginally involved. BUT, we do rebuild, and the scars are eventually part of the landscape. You count your blessings, and help those most deeply affected get past it as well as they can. Hugs to you and those near you….

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    1. somehow your comment ended up in the spam section, it happened before with other top commenters – never figured out why, really.
      thank you, I feel so sorry for Xenia and all the damage there 😦 you’re right. we can put things back and try and fix all we can, and be thankful for all that’s left.

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  3. Oh my God! I am glad to see that you are OK , I am truly sorry for your friends and family that had tough time!

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  4. heard of it on the news last night. Glad you and your family are safe. Looks scary and shocking, loads of damages. Feeling for the people involved.

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  5. Mother Nature can be a very violent master at times. Thank heavens you are safe!! Prayers to all those who suffered terrible losses. It sounds quite likely think the emotional damage may be much higher for some. One thing I love so much about your part of the world is that you have “history” in every building; coming from centuries of architecture. Such a tragedy when it’s lost.

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    1. thank you, ❤️❤️❤️
      yes, every rock here has a history, that’s why digging a Tube in Rome is almost impossible.
      we lost Villa Fini, 400 years old, survived two world wars and not this. I almost cried when I saw the news report.

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  6. Oh my goodness! What a shock. You talked that one up with your previous post title!
    I am glad that you and your household are all ok but so sorry for the damage to the neighbouring town and its residents.

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  7. Praise God you are OK!! I lived about 15 minutes away from a town that was nearly leveled by a tornado when I was in school…at my house, we had nothing but some rain. In fact a tornado passed very close to where we live now…even in downtown Atlanta!!…about three years ago, but luckily we were away at a friend’s house and had no damage. But all the nearby skyscrapers lost windows! So I know how capricious these tornados can be and what the damage looks like. I will pray for the people in ville…I can only imagine how difficult it will be to deal with since no one will have any experience with it!!

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    1. oh dear, that’s so terrible! and so lucky to escape them twice already! ❤️❤️
      last night I saw how terrible the damage has been to Villa Fini, you can google it.. it’s just unbelievable.

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  8. OMG! I am always amazed by the force of nature…. it is so beautiful but it can also be so devastating! Those tornadoes and storms that come out of nowhere are such a shock, not just because they are unexpected but also because of the havoc and chaos that they bring in their wake. I am so pleased to hear that you are ok… and saddened to see and hear about what happened to those not so lucky…..
    Hugs xx

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  9. Oh my goodness, Chiara, this is dreadful! The climate is certainly changing as we have had snow in Queensland! So glad that you and your family are safe. Take care, my dear friend.

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