Giovedì, 23 Maggio 2019
Dimensione testo

Half of Venice set to be flooded


Venice, January 31 - Half of Venice was set to be
flooded Friday night with rain-swollen seasonal high tides
rising 140 cm above average sea level in the lagoon city, local
authorities said.
A third of Venice was already under water as waters passed
the 125-cm mark amid an unrelenting wave of rain across Italy.
It was the fourth straight day the 'acqua alta' or high
water went over the 110-cm level that covers low-lying areas
like St Mark's Square, forcing tourists to wade across the
landmark piazza.
If the acqua alta hits the forecast mark, pontoon walkways
will have to be put up in St Mark's and other famous places.
In the high-tide season, which lasts from autumn to spring,
water routinely spills over the city's banks, flooding its
streets and squares and occasionally threatening to set new
records when the skies open, as they have done this week.
The highest-ever acqua alta came during the great flood of
1966, at 194 cm, when waters caused huge damage.
Levels of 120-130 cm above sea level are quite common in
Venice, which is well-equipped to cope with its rafts of
But anything much higher than that risks swamping the city
and washing all the walkways away, as happened in December 2008
(156 cm), December 1986 (158 cm) and December 1979 (166 cm).
The causes of acqua alta are both natural and man-made.
Decades of pumping groundwater caused significant damage to
the delicate foundation before the practice was called off.
Weather experts say the high-water threat has been
increasing in recent years as heavier rains have hit northern
Other possible explanations for the phenomenon include the
sea floor rising as a result of incoming silt and gas extraction
in the sea off Venice undermining the islands.
According to a recent study, plate tectonics are also to
blame as the Adriatic plate is sliding beneath the Apennine
Mountains, causing the area to drop in elevation.
Scientists have conceived various ways of warding off the
waters since a catastrophic flood in 1966 and a system of
moveable flood barriers called MOSE is near completion after
years of controversy.

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