The city of canals and gondolas is no stranger to seasonal flooding but even Venice is not immune to sea level rise. The city is now taking the brunt of the highest tides it has seen in 50 years and climate change is said to be the cause.
The mayor of Venice is poised to declare a state of emergency after the city was hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years, with another surge expected to cause further widespread flooding and destruction on Wednesday.
Flooding in the lagoon city reached its second-highest level ever in the wake of the aqua alta, or high waters, which reached 1.87 metres late on Tuesday night amid heavy rain, just short of the record 1.94 metres (78 in) recorded in 1966.
More than 85% of Venice was flooded, authorities said, including the historic basilica and many of its squares and alleyways. While the water level dropped slightly on Wednesday morning, a further torrent of water, whipped up by high winds, is forecast to sweep in later in the day, reaching a level of 1.60 metres.Compounding the city's problems is ongoing subsidence, just over 9 inches in the past century. With sea levels expected to continue rising for centuries even as historic Venice sinks, it is going to take some creative genius to save the lagoon city. A 2 metre tide would submerge 90 per cent of the city.
St Mark’s Square was submerged by more than one metre of water, while the adjacent St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years – but the fourth in the last two decades. The last occasion, in November 2018, caused an estimated €2.2m (£1.9m) of damage