By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Venice is no stranger to flooding. However, violent storms and high tides this week caused some of the worst flooding that Venice has ever seen, Global News reported.
At least 11 people have died from weather-related incidents throughout Italy.
Much of Venice was engulfed in water on Monday, when the floodwaters reached 61 inches (156 centimeters) above average sea level. As much as three-quarters of Venice was under water.
Officials in the flooded lagoon city of Venice warned that salt water may have caused significant damage to the city’s historic sites, CNN reported.
Floodwaters Submerge St. Mark's Square, Flow into Basilica
The vast expanse of St. Mark's Square was transformed into a lake that covered the ancient marble floors in St. Mark's Basilica, CNN added.
"In a single day, the basilica aged 20 years, but perhaps this is an optimistic consideration," Carlo Alberto Tesserin, head of the board responsible for St. Mark's Basilica, said in a statement.
The floodwaters covered several dozen square meters of the 1,000-year-old marble pavement in front of the altar of the Madonna Nicopeia, a 12th-century icon. Water also submerged the Baptistery and the Zen Chapel, Tesserin added.
Raised walkways were laid out in front of the Doge's Palace and other parts of the city. Nevertheless, “tourists and residents trudged through the waist-high water, while stores and restaurants were inundated as barriers placed across doorways failed to hold back the rising tide,” CNN said.
"Everything is under control, just as it was last Friday," a spokesman for the office of Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro told CNN on Wednesday.
More High Tides Expected
Tuesday's high tides peaked at 110 centimeters (3.6 feet), flooding at least 12 percent of the city. Local authorities predicted another 110-centimeter high tide on Thursday. Floods of at least 110 centimeters usually happen only about four times a year, authorities told the news agency.
The highest tide ever recorded was 194 centimeters (6.3 feet) in November 1966. The regional governor, Luca Zaia, said that conditions this week are similar to what happened in 1966.
Climatologists Expect Flooding Problem to Worsen Due to Climate Change
CNN meteorologists said flooding at high tide has become much more common in Venice because of climate change. That is a problem, they say, that will continue to worsen as seas rise because of increasing temperatures and melting ice sheets.