Published: Wed, October 31, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Italy storms kill 11 and floods inundate St Mark’s Basilica, Venice

Italy storms kill 11 and floods inundate St Mark’s Basilica, Venice

Venice, Italy is being battered by torrential rain and strong winds leading to the worst flooding the lagoon city has seen for a decade.

Venice's St Mark's Square was evacuated Monday as the lagoon city was hit by major floods, amid a nationwide weather alert across Italy.

Residents and visitors were wading through waist-high water in St Mark's Square before the mayor gave orders to evacuate the area.

Nearly all parts of northern Italy are on alert due to the storms, with wind gusting up to 100 km per hour and rainfall in some parts equivalent to the amount that falls over several months.

The public transport company closed the water taxi service due to the emergency, with connections remaining active only to the outlying islands.

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Monday's high tides were caused by a low-pressure weather system over northern Italy that brought strong winds from south to north, pushing water into Venice.

A project for this, nicknamed Moses, is said to be in the pipeline, but it is being severely delayed by cost overruns and corruption scandals. If the tide levels are verified, the reading will be the highest since December 1979.

Residents and businesses typically reinforce their doors with metal or wooden panels to prevent water from entering the bottom floors, but photos on social media showed shop owners using water pumps to try and protect their wares.

Locals and tourists have been sharing pictures and videos of a flooded Venice, as they waddle in knee deep water and struggle to walk its streets.

Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia says flooding could reach the levels of the 1966 flood that struck both Venice and Florence.

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In the province of Frosinone, south of Rome, two people died after a tree fell on their vehicle, while in the southern region of Calabria, a man was reported missing.

A number of trees were reported uprooted across Rome and many parks and tourist sites were closed, including the Roman Forum and Colosseum.

The Interior Ministry urged officials in storm-affected regions to consider closing schools and offices for a second day on Tuesday.

Luca Zaia, head of the Veneto region, said he was anxious that the situation could be worse than the huge floods in 2010.

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