Amusing for tourists and a nuisance for residents, the high water, caused by a record high tide, invaded cafes, stores and other businesses

People walk in a flooded St.Mark's Square during a period of seasonal high water in Venice, Italy November 12, 2019
People walk in a flooded St.Mark's Square during a period of seasonal high water in Venice, Italy November 12, 2019 (Reuters)

Tourists and Venetians took to strategically placed raised walkways on Tuesday to slosh through the high water that has hit much of the lagoon city.

Rescuers patrol across flooded St. Mark's square past St. Mark's Basilica during an exceptional high tide water level in Venice, November 12, 2019
Rescuers patrol across flooded St. Mark's square past St. Mark's Basilica during an exceptional high tide water level in Venice, November 12, 2019 (AFP)

The city saw a record high tide with water levels expected to reach or surpass 1.90 metres, the city's tide monitoring centre said. 

"We're currently facing an exceptionally high tide. Everyone has been mobilised to cope with the emergency," Venice's mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

The high water invaded cafes, stores and other businesses. Sirens warned people in Venice of the rising water, and as a precaution, authorities closed nursery schools.

A room in the flooded Gritti Palace is pictured during an exceptional high tide in Venice, November 12, 2019
A room in the flooded Gritti Palace is pictured during an exceptional high tide in Venice, November 12, 2019 (AFP)

Iolo ap Dafydd reports.

A top tourist attraction, the Ducal Palace, just off St. Mark’s Square, tweeted that it’s “open today, despite the exceptional tide,” and advised visitors to use the raised walkways leading to its entrance.

Many hotels keep disposable knee-high plastic boots handy for tourists. Venetians’ wardrobes often include over-the-knee rubber boots.

As the phenomenon of high water, locally known as “acqua alta,” goes, the levels Tuesday, while amusing for tourists and a nuisance for residents going about their business, were far lower than the 1.94 metrEs (6 feet 4 inches) in the devastating November 1966 flood in Venice.

But even lesser levels of the salty high water, over the years, take their toll on the city, eroding foundations of homes, businesses and city buildings.

People wearing waterproof gear walk through a flooded street during an exceptional high tide in Venice, November 12, 2019
People wearing waterproof gear walk through a flooded street during an exceptional high tide in Venice, November 12, 2019 (AFP)

Bad weather is continuing to dog Italy, with no real let-up forecast for several days.

In Policoro, a southern town in an area known for its ancient Greek ruins, a whirlwind ripped the roofs off two homes, but the occupants inside escaped injury, Italian news reports said.

In that same region of Basilicata, swaths of the tourist town of Matera, famed for its Sassi former cave dwellings, were flooded after heavy rains.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies