Venice drowns as historic high tides flood the city
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Venice drowns as historic high tides flood the city

Italy declares state of emergency; iconic St Mark’s Square closed and then reopened as fresh sea surge hits Floating City

  • Tourists push their luggage in a flooded St. Mark's Square, in Venice, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
    Tourists push their luggage in a flooded St. Mark's Square, in Venice, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • A paper boat floats in a flooded St. Mark's Square in Venice, November 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
    A paper boat floats in a flooded St. Mark's Square in Venice, November 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
  • A man stands by a closed shop in a flooded arcade by St. Mark's square on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years  ( Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
    A man stands by a closed shop in a flooded arcade by St. Mark's square on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years ( Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
  • A general view shows people walking across the flooded St. Mark's Square, by St. Mark's Basilica on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
    A general view shows people walking across the flooded St. Mark's Square, by St. Mark's Basilica on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
  • A Carabinieri police officer (R) holding his transparent plexiglass anti-riot shield walks across a flooded arcade by St. Mark's Square on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
    A Carabinieri police officer (R) holding his transparent plexiglass anti-riot shield walks across a flooded arcade by St. Mark's Square on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Another exceptional high tide swamped flood-hit Venice on Friday, prompting the mayor to order St Mark’s square closed after Italy declared a state of emergency for the UNESCO city.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro moved to shut the iconic square as the latest sea surge struck with strong storms and winds battering the region.

It reached a high of 1.54 meters (five feet) just before midday — lower than Tuesday’s peak but still dangerous.

“I’m forced to close the square to avoid health risks for citizens… a disaster,” Brugnaro said.

In the afternoon the square reopened as water levels receded and forecasts anticipated lower levels in coming days.

Churches, shops and homes in the city of canals have been inundated by unusually intense “acqua alta,” or high water, which on Tuesday hit their highest level in half a century.

A woman sits in a chair in a flooded St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Nov. 13, 2019 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Tourists push their luggage in a flooded St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
People wade their way through water in Venice, Italy, Nov. 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A man stands by a closed shop in a flooded arcade by St. Mark’s square on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years ( Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
A general view shows people walking across the flooded St. Mark’s Square, by St. Mark’s Basilica on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
A municipal worker work in a flooded street near Rialto Bridge, on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
A woman wipes out water from her store near Rialto Bridge, on November 15, 2019 in Venice, two days after the city suffered its highest tide in 50 years (Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)
A stranded ferry boat lies on its side, in Venice, Nov. 13, 2019 (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini)
A man makes his way through water outside a hotel in Venice, Italy, Nov. 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Young volunteers help cleaning up, throwing out damaged books from renowned bookstore “Acqua Alta” (High Water) after flooding in Venice, Italy, Nov. 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A paper boat floats in a flooded St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Nov. 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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