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Acqua alta: Venice goes under water because of precipitation and high tides

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Acqua alta or «Big water»- high tides that partially flood the city - is a relatively common thing in Venice during «low season» from October to December. A flood is when the sea rises 110 centimetres. However, these floods are not always as severe as this year's. According to various reports on November 13, the water level rose to 145 to 187 centimeters from the conventional zero mark, making the current flood one of the strongest in the last half century.

During the record flood of 1966, the water rose to 194 centimetres. In 2018, it rose to 156 centimetres, with the maximum height of the islands of Venice at two metres above sea level.

The city has adapted to small floods: as long as the water is below 125 centimetres, even in Piazza San Marco, which is the lowest point of Venice, they simply install pedestrian bridges. However, when the sea rises higher, as it has in recent days, they start to float away.

According to Luca Zaia, governor of the Veneto region, quoted by «Izvestia», up to 80% of the city has now gone under water. All schools are closed, the crypt of St. Mark's cathedral is completely flooded, and a fire broke out in the Ca-Pesaro Palace due to faulty wiring. Authorities have declared a state of disaster.

At least one person died because of the flooding in Venice: on the island of Pellestrina, a 78-year-old man tried to restart an electric pump in his flooded house and was electrocuted. Another man died, presumably of natural causes.

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