St. Mark’s Square in Venice was under water on Tuesday after a newly installed system of mobile artificial dams could not be activated.
Residents – long used to perennial « acqua alta » or flood events – put on their wellington boots again to deal with floods that peaked at 1. 37 meters (4. 5 feet) above sea level in the afternoon.
The water drowned St. Mark’s Square – the lowest area of the Renaissance city at about three feet above sea level – and invaded the famous basilica as many shopkeepers blocked their entrances with wooden panels to keep the water out.
In October, a massive flood protection system called MOSE was finally installed to protect the Venice lagoon during high tide.
The network of water-filled caissons can be raised in 30 minutes to create a barrier that can withstand water rises three meters above normal.
But on Tuesday the system could not take action because the forecast incorrectly predicted an increase of only 1. 2 meters above sea level.
« In order to activate MOSES, a larger forecast is required, » the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, told the Italian news agency Agi.
The water peaked at 1. 87 meters above sea level on Dec.. November 2019, one of the highest ever measured. Dozens of churches with UNESCO World Heritage Sites were damaged.
The MOSE infrastructure project started in 2003 but has been plagued by cost overruns, corruption scandals and delays.
The project cost approximately seven billion euros, compared to an original estimate of two billion.
Venice, flood, MOSE, St. . St. Mark’s Square
World news – AU – Venice under water, as the complex dam system cannot be activated [see pictures]
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