Venice hit by high tide as Italy buffeted by winds; 6 killed

Venice on 'code red' as city sees worst flooding since 2012

Venice on 'code red' as city sees worst flooding since 2012

Venice frequently floods when high winds push in water from the lagoon, but Monday's levels are exceptional and forecast to rise even higher, to 160 centimetres (nearly 63 inches) by mid-afternoon.

Water levels rose more than five feet (156cm / 61.4 inches), with photos showing locals and tourists wading their way through it. The water exceeded the raised walkways normally put out in flooded areas in Venice, forcing their removal.

Two people were killed when a tree fell on their auto not far from Rome, and a young man in the Naples region also died after being hit by a falling tree, according to authorities. Transport officials also closed the water-bus system, except to outlying islands, due to the emergency.

VENICE: At least three people died Monday in Italy as fierce winds and rains lashed much of the country and caused waters in the canal-ringed city of Venice to reach historic high levels.

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The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, said a series of underwater barriers being erected in the lagoon would have prevented the situation. The project, nicknamed Moses, is long overdue, having been beset by cost overruns and corruption scandals.

Venice's iconic piazzas are covered in water, not pigeons, as three-quarters of the city is submerged following a storm system that brought strong winds, rose water levels, and toppled trees.

Officials closed major tourist attractions in Rome, including the Colosseum and Roman Forum, early due to heavy rains.

"All of Veneto is in code red alarm for this wave of bad weather", said Luca Zaia, the regional president, warning that conditions could match historic flood levels of 1966.

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