Italian authorities described the situation in Genoa as 'extremely serious' [AFP]

At least six people have been killed as heavy rainstorms hit northwestern Italy, flooding parts of Genoa and neighbouring areas a week after torrential rainstorms ravaged nearby coastal areas.

Media reports said on Friday that the dead included two children.

Floodwaters poured through Genoa, the largest city on the northwestern coast, for the second time in eight days, sweeping up cars, trees and furniture from low-lying homes.

Authorities described the situation as "extremely serious" and urged people to be careful.

Postings on the website of Genoa's town hall warned residents not to leave their houses, to move to higher floors, close shops and not to use their cars.

Last week, the government declared a state of emergency in the northwestern Liguria region and Tuscany after storms lashed the coastal regions, killing at least 10 people and causing widespread flooding and mudslides.

Source: Agencies