Tourists in Venice awoke to warning sirens on Friday as the ‘acqua alta’ (high water) reached the highest level this year, leaving 55 per cent of the city under water.
Shortly before dawn, sirens rang out across the city to warn inhabitants that the water level had risen above 1.10 meters. A few hours later, the level had risen to 1.40 meters above sea level.
Temporary footbridges in St Mark’s Square, typically put down for pedestrians when the area floods, were removed by local authorities as the risk rose that they would be swept away by the fast rising waters.
The heavy flooding is due to a combination of persistently bad weather and the usual tide coming in to the Venice lagoon off the Adriatic.