Venice, a tourist destination known for its canals and gondolas, has just seen three-quarters of the city go underwater amid the worst flooding it has experienced in six years.
The city along the Adriatic Sea in Northern Italy found itself under more than one-and-a-half metres of water on Monday, reaching levels that triggered sirens and forced the shutdown of its water-bus service, save for the outer island, ABC Newsreported.
The flooding happened amid a high tide as well as windy weather that prevailed right across the country.
It’s not uncommon for Venice to see flooding amid high winds, but this was something new — the last time water hit such levels in the city was in 2008.
The water was so high that walkways set out to help people navigate the city had to be taken down.
The flooding is known as “acqua alta,” or “high water,” in Venice.
Three central causes have been identified in connection with the floods there, according to ABC: offshore methane gas extraction that’s affecting the area’s islands, silt that’s causing a higher floor in the Venetian lagoon and sea levels that are rising due to climate change.
Venice’s current flooding happened after high winds blew water into the city from the lagoon.
The water eventually receded, but there were nevertheless concerns that the flooding could reach record levels like it saw during a historic event in 1966.
Venice is undertaking a project to install gates at the entrances to the Venetian Lagoon, which can rise during storms and provide a barrier against high water from the Adriatic Sea.
Once known as Project Moses, the initiative has been slowed by arguments between politicians. Experts aren’t optimistic that it will be completed, according to CBS News.