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Heavy rain, snow pounds Italy

Arno River at 20-year high, threatening Pisa, Florence

31 January, 10:42
Heavy rain, snow pounds Italy (ANSA) - Rome, January 31 - Heavy rain and snow pounded much of Italy Friday as Pisa and Florence braced for serious flooding around the Arno River. Public offices in Pisa faced closures as the river reached levels unseen in 20 years, forcing emergency workers to erect barriers and reinforce banks to channel water to the sea. Streets leading into the center of the city were blocked off as a safety precaution.

Meanwhile small towns outside Florence and nearby Prato were virtually surrounded by rising flood water as schools closed for the day. The capital Rome also experienced heavy rain, especially in the north of the city where at least one subway stop was closed for flooding and where traffice was snarled by rising water and fallen tree limbs. Near the northern city of Belluno, schools were closed for excessive snow.