Venice under water as severe storms hit Italy

Venice on 'code red' as city sees worst flooding since 2012

Authorities in the lagoon city of Venice had barred access to the central St Mark's Square, which was heavily flooded.

Almost all of northern Italy was on alert due to storms, which swept across the country yesterday, with wind gusts up to 100km/h and rainfall in some places equivalent to the amount that falls over several months.

Venice city officials say 70 per cent of the lagoon city has been flooded by waters rising 149 centimetres (more than 58 1/2 inches) above sea level.

Tourists and residents of Venice donned high boots to navigate the city streets after strong winds raised the water level over 5 feet before receding.

The city, famous for its canals and gondolas and handsome palaces and churches, is frequently overwhelmed by water in the period from October to December, but Monday's flooding was particularly heavy.

Monday's high tides were caused by a low-pressure weather system over northern Italy that brought strong winds from south to north, pushing water into Venice.

He said that the project was not completed due to cost overruns and corruption scandals. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri A view of flooded Saint Mark Square during a period of seasonal high water in Venice, Italy October 29, 2018.

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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. High winds toppled trees that killed passers-by in three accidents in Naples and Lazio.

At least five people died in Italy on Monday as fierce winds and heavy rains lashed across most parts of the country, reported AFP. That happens on average four times a year.

Around 101 people were killed by the 1966 flood of the Arno and millions of masterpieces of art and rare books were also destroyed.

Major tourist attractions in Rome have also been closed due to the rains, including the Colosseum and the Forum.

The Interior Ministry has urged officials in storm-struck regions to consider closing schools and offices for a second day on Tuesday.

Meteorologists are warning that the bad weather will continue.

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