Italy TravelVenice Hit With Unusual Acqua Alta in June

Venice Hit With Unusual Acqua Alta in June
Published on Sunday, June 26, 2016 by

Acqua_alta_san_giobbe_1DIC.2008Much of Venice was  underwater last week as an out-of-season acqua alta, or high water, takes hold. The tidal flooding causes the Adriatic Sea to overflow into the streets of Venice, this time covering St. Mark’s Square and other parts of the city with one meter (3.3 feet) of water and undoubtedly creating a nuisance for tourists stuck without rain boots.

During periods of acqua alta, the city erects raised wooden walkways around Venice so that people can walk around without getting wet, but many people are happy to wade through the floods or wait it out in a café (since the flooding is driven by the tides, the water disappears after a few hours).

Acqua alta is a tidal phenomenon that has occurred in the Venice lagoon for centuries when high tides join forces with warm, seasonal winds (scirocco) to submerge parts of the city; however, it is extremely rare to have an acqua alta in June, as it usually happens in late autumn and winter. Venice has not historically suffered much damage due to acqua alta, as the city is well-prepared and museums and other sites store important materials above the water line, though the increasing frequency of the flooding due to climate change could soon present problems.


By Kathy McCabe

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