comscore Venice hit by high tide as Italy buffeted by winds; 6 killed | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
News

Venice hit by high tide as Italy buffeted by winds; 6 killed

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A woman walks in a flooded street of Venice, Italy, today as, according to city officials, 70 percent of the lagoon city has been flooded by waters rising 149 centimeters (more than 58 1/2 inches) above sea level. Venice frequently floods when high winds push in water from the lagoon, but today’s levels are exceptional and forecast to rise even higher, to 160 centimeters (nearly 63 inches) by mid-afternoon.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    People walk in a flooded street of Venice, Italy, today, as, according to city officials, 70 percent of the lagoon city has been flooded by waters rising 156 centimeters (more than 61.41 inches) above sea level. Venice frequently floods when high winds push in water from the lagoon, but today’s levels are exceptional.

MILAN >> Venice was inundated by an exceptional high tide today, putting three-quarters of the famed Italian lagoon city under water as large swathes of the rest of Italy experienced flooding and heavy winds that toppled trees and other objects, killing six people.

Tourists and residents alike donned high boots to navigate the streets of Venice after strong winds raised the water level 156 centimeters (over 5 feet) before receding. The water exceeded the raised walkways normally put out in flooded areas in Venice, forcing their removal. Transport officials closed the water bus system except to outlying islands because of the emergency.

Venice frequently floods when high winds push in water from the lagoon, but today’s levels were exceptional. The peak level was the highest reached since December 2008, according to Venice statistics.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said a series of underwater barriers that are being erected in the lagoon would have prevented the inundation. The project, nicknamed Moses, is long overdue, beset by cost overruns and corruption scandals.

Brugnaro said he had asked to talk with Premier Giuseppe Conte to underline the urgency of the project, which would raise barriers when the tide reaches 109 centimeters (43 inches). That happens, on average, four times a year in Venice.

Residents and businesses typically reinforce their doors with metal or wooden panels to prevent water from entering the bottom floors, but photos on social media showed shop owners using water pumps this time to try to protect their wares.

Much of Italy is under alert for flooding from heavy rains, a problem exacerbated by a lack of maintenance of the country’s many river beds. High winds toppled trees that killed passers-by in four incidents in Naples, Lazio and Liguria.

Officials closed major tourist attractions in Rome, including the Colosseum and Roman Forum, early because of heavy rains.

Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia says flooding this week could reach the levels of the 1966 flood that struck both Venice and Florence. The Interior Ministry urged officials in storm-struck regions, about half of the country, to consider closing schools and offices for a second day Tuesday.

Comments (1)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up