Millennium Post

Extreme weather hits Italy

Man has not been able to rein in Climate Change. The weather has gone berserk in various parts of the world – Italy being the latest victim. Strong winds and heavy rain have battered parts of the country, causing fatalities and the worst flooding witnessed in Venice for at least a decade. Schools have been closed around the country and the Civil Protection Agency has issued multiple weather warnings. People died in the south of Rome when winds brought down scores of pine trees. Much of the Italian lagoon city of Venice was engulfed with water after high tides and strong winds caused the most severe flooding seen in years. The city, famous for its canals, gondolas and beautiful palaces and churches, is frequently overwhelmed by water in the period from October to December; but the latest flooding was particularly heavy. The water rose by five feet, three inches above sea level at high tide, meaning that at least 77 per cent of the city was under water. If the tide levels are verified, the reading will be the highest since December 1979. The highest-ever recorded was 194 cm in November 1966. The high tides were caused by a low-pressure weather system over northern Italy that brought strong winds from the south to the north, pushing water into Venice. Tourists and residents trudged through the waist-high water, while shops and restaurants were inundated as barriers placed across doorways failed to hold back the rising tide. Shopkeepers used buckets to remove water from their premises. The vast expanse of St Mark's Square was transformed into a lake while raised walkways were laid out in front of the Doge's Palace and in other parts of the city. Runners in Sunday's Venice Marathon were undeterred as they splashed their way through the ankle-deep water. The predicted high tides are not expected to be as severe but will still be at least 110 cm and potentially higher if the winds continue to blow. This would inundate at least 12 per cent of the city. Floods of at least 110 cm happen only about four times a year. Other parts of Italy have been affected too. Rome has issued an adverse weather alert warning of widespread rainfall, strong winds and violent storms in exposed coastal areas of the Lazio region. Flooding at high tide has become much more common in Venice because of Climate Change, a problem that will continue to worsen as seas rise, thanks to increasing temperatures and melting ice sheets. Dozens of trees were reportedly uprooted across Rome and many parks and tourist sites were closed, including the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Further south, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was shuttered because of the blustery conditions.

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