Storms with hurricane-level winds battered Italy killing at least 11 people and leaving emergency responders scrambling to respond. Winds drove the high tide to 61 inches over the average putting about 70% of the city under water. The record was set in 1966. The famed cathedral in St. Mark’s Square was damaged by flooding soaking the bronze doors, columns, and marble. Venice has struggled to finish the âMoses Projectâ a system of floodgates that has been under construction for years.
- Will Venice be unlivable in 20 years?
- Does Italy have the capability to build an effective complex system of floodgates?
- Should the world assist in preserving Venice?
ROME — Violent thunderstorms, small tornadoes that blew roofs off homes, and winds equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane lashed Italy from Piedmont to Sicily early this week, leaving at least nine people dead, many injured, and firefighters and other rescue workers scrambling to respond to emergency calls.
In Venice, ferocious winds drove the high tide to more than 61 inches, or 156 centimeters, above average sea level on Monday, one of the highest levels ever recorded, plunging much of the city under water. It was the highest flood in a decade in Venice, though far short of the record, more than 76 inches above level, set in November 1966.
Venetians and tourists tottered on raised walkways throughout the city, while others waded through thigh-high water, many wearing plastic bags on their feet. Many shops and restaurants flooded when barriers across doorways failed to keep the water out.
Some tourists decided to go for a swim in the historic Saint Mark’s Square, in front of the city’s cathedral.
An editorial on Tuesday in the Venice daily Il Gazzettino asked what had happened to the Moses Project, the divisive, still-unfinished, multibillion-dollar system of floodgates that has been under construction for years. Venice, built on a lagoon of the Adriatic on Italy’s northeastern coast, has always been vulnerable to flooding, and the system of barriers is supposed to offer some protection as global warming and rising seas make the threat worse.