Venice Has Worst Floods in a Decade as Severe Storms Hit Italy
Venice is virtually underwater in the worst flooding the city has seen in at least a decade. Severe storms have been sweeping through Italy since Monday, and officials say at one point, roughly 77% of Venice was submerged in water.
So far, nine people have died in Italy's band of severe rain and thunderstorms. The fatalities were mostly caused by falling trees and debris throughout the country. Among the deceased is a volunteer firefighter who died amid an emergency response call in San Martino in Badia.
Italy's Civil Protection Agency has issued warnings against nonessential travel and has shut down many of the nation's schools and tourist attractions such as the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Around 6,000 firefighters have been dispatched to clear debris from roads throughout the country. Meanwhile, tourists and locals alike have been navigating the flooded streets of Venice in water that for some people can be up to waist-high. Raised walkways have been temporarily constructed to help people move through the city.
While Venice typically experiences flooding from October to December, a combination of the high winds from the north and south of Italy and a low-pressure weather system combined and created the current extreme conditions. On Monday, the water reached as high as five feet three inches at high tide, putting at least 77% of the city under water, according to CNN.
Climate change also plays a part in the severe conditions in Venice. As temperatures rise and the sea levels increase, experts say more frequent and harsher flooding is expected to to affect the already highly weather beaten city.
All images by Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images.