Rumble: Rome Floods

Rome in the rain
There was a time we lived in Kampala, Uganda. When we had a rain storm, everyone was late coming to the office, as roads would be flooded knee high.

I was reminded of that today. The only difference is, I now live in Rome, Italy.

I woke up at 6:30 am. There was some distant rumble of thunder, but I did not think much of it.

When I got outside, it rained. I drove off, curbing a corner and followed a car in front of me, which stopped all of a sudden. I passed him, to find myself driving through 10 inches of water. As drainage where I live is almost non-existent, I did not think much of it.

Drove to work, and found the traffic to be very light. Saw many fields besides the highway drenched, but did not think much of it.

Took the Fiumicino-Rome highway. Exit close to work. One of the underpasses of the highway was flooded up to the ceiling. A car stuck in the underpass, its roof hardly visible. We had the same two weeks ago. And it took them four days to drain the underpass. So, this morning, I did not think much of it.

Got to work, and saw very few cars in the parking lot. Went to the usual Thursday morning staff meeting, only to find a handful of people. Normally we have 200 people attending. Started getting SMSes from several of my staff saying "I will be late", followed by "Stuck in traffic" and later "Making a U-turn. Going back home." "Not coming today, traffic just stopped".. One after the other, meetings were cancelled.

Only then I caught up with the news:

Apparently there was a big rain storm last night (slept through it), with loads of thunder and lightning (slept through it), and half of Rome was flooded (drove in from the other - non-flooded - side).

Rome's mayor declared the state of emergency, advising people to stay home. One person was found dead in a car, stuck in a flooded underpass. (More)

That is the point where I started to think about my time in Africa.

More on The Road about Rome and Italy

Picture courtesy Letneo


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