UPDATE: 28th May 2015
A new paper on this subject has recently been published on Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. The scientists examine the 2012 M 6.0 earthquake in the Po Valley of northern Italy. From inspection of 4 years of satellite images they find numerous examples of linear-cloud formations over Italy. A simple test shows no obvious statistical relationship between the occurrence of these cloud formations and earthquakes that occurred in and around Italy.
Read it the story here:
September 11, 2014
A new paper is out for discussion in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences titled On a report that the 2012 M = 6.0 earthquake in Italy was predicted after seeing an unusual cloud formation.
A group of researchers from various institutions in the USA and Italy took the task of studying cloud formations across the entire Italian peninsula. It all started after several reports had suggested that linear-cloud formations might be precursory to earthquakes. The researchers examined satellite images of northern Italy over the duration of four years in order to establish if the formations seen at the time of the 2012 magnitude 6 earthquake in the Po Valley, Italy were related to the earthquake itself.
The answer is no.
They observed numerous examples of linear-cloud formations over Italy, and concluded that there is no obvious statistical relationship between the occurrence of these cloud formations and earthquakes that occurred in and around Italy. Instead they claim that the cloud formations were formed by the interaction of moisture-laden wind flowing over mountains.
Access the full PDF here.