Four members of one family trapped in their basement apartment died in the city of Livorno, which has taken on the brunt of the flooding.
Aerial photographs shared by Italy’s fire and rescue services showed widespread flooding in the region, where streets were turned to rivers and buildings submerged. Videos circulating on social media captured overturned vehicles in washed-out roads.
Tommaso Tafi, spokesman for the mayor of Livorno, told CNN that Tuscany has been on an orange alert since Sunday night.
“In this situation and under this alert, nobody leaves their homes,” Tafi said. “The previous week (the area of) Liguria was on red alert and it did not even rain. That is why we did not call people’s homes to alert them. We notified people through the local television and local papers.”
Livorno Mayor Filippo Nogarin told Agence France-Presse that the government had underestimated the danger of the storm.
“We didn’t expect this because the alert was orange. Then we woke up to this,” Nogarin said, adding that the death toll “may still rise.”
The rain began Saturday night, and heavy downpours lashed the region from around 2 to 4 a.m. Sunday.
Italy’s Civil Protection Unit is set to get to the afflicted area on Monday.