Venice Flooding In 2012 6th Highest On Record

 @MarkJohansonIBT
on November 12 2012 12:46 PM
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Shops, homes and historic palaces in the Floating City were filled with water Monday as heavy rains and winds from the south triggered dangerous swells. Water reached 149 centimeters (5 feet) above normal, forcing residents and tourists alike to don plastic cover-alls and swimming gear just to get around. Makeshift wooden walkways were added to areas of St. Mark’s Square to ease transportation, though many businesses and shops were closed.

This is the fourth time the city has been struck by dangerously high water levels since 2000, and Environment Minister Corrado Clini has insisted global climate change is to blame.

Moveable sea barriers meant to protect the city from its winter floods have been in the works for decades and may finally be complete by 2015 -- not a moment too soon.

Scientists now estimate that the city's Gothic and Byzantine palazzos are sinking at a rate of two millimeters (0.08 inches) each year. Many have questioned how much longer Venice can stay afloat as rising saltwater from increasingly frequent floods cracks centuries-old buildings, crumbling the very foundations of one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Venice Flooding 2012

A man walks through a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

A fruit stand at a local market is seen in a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

A man rows a kayak in front of flooded St. Mark square during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

A man rests in a shop in a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

People walk in a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

People walk through a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

Tourists sit in St. Mark Square during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

Tourists walk on raised platforms for flood waters in St. Mark Square during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

People walk in a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

People walk through a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters

Venice Flooding 2012

A woman stands on a bench above a flooded street during a period of seasonal high water in Venice. Reuters