Abnormally high tides cause flooding in Italy
Venice, Italy plays host to countless tourists from around the world who come to the city for it’s romantic and unique layout where canals serve as streets and gondoliers replace taxi cab drivers. Because of the city’s location, it is not surprising that the city has had some issues when it comes to flooding. Even in 1604 the cost of flood relief was so severe that the local government introduced a system of taxation that is now considered to be the first example of a “stamp tax.” Also, in many old houses found in Venice the former staircases used to unload goods are now always flooded which renders the ground floors uninhabitable. But aside from the consistent level of the waterways, this city is frequently threatened by cycles of high tides which can be exaggerated by certain weather conditions.
Today (November 12, 2012) heavy rains combined with seas being blown by strong winds have brought the city’s high tide mark to its sixth-highest level since records began being kept over 150 years ago. This past Sunday Italian news reported that this weather system caused 70% of central Venice to be under water as well as 200 people needing to be evacuated from their homes in Tuscany. Currently, efforts are being made to put in place movable barriers that can be filled with air to rise up from the sea bed in order to protect Venice from abnormally high tides but they will not be operational before 2014.
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