The ancient Italian city of Venice has slowly been sinking for many years. Early Wednesday morning, an unusually high tide flooded most of the city once again, forcing its denizens to wade through knee-high waters or make use of the improvised, elevated boardwalks set up in St Mark’s Square and other public spaces.
The waters reached a peak of almost 1.5 meters above sea level Wednesday, flooding about 60 percent of the city’s streets according to authorities. The level came close to last year’s record 1.6 meters; Venice’s worst flooding in over two decades. Responsible are the strong southern wind and rain combined with the lagoon city’s periodic tidal phenomenon.
A system of movable barriers that is supposed to protect the city from high tides is under construction but not expected to be operational anytime before 2014.
Venice is not the only place in northern Italy that has fallen victim to bad weathers this season. Lasting snowstorms and cold have forced airports and public transportation to largely shut down throughout the region all the while wreaking havoc on traffic in the different cities.