Every so often, a combination of high winds and high tides flood Venice, Italy. The phenomenon, known as acqua alta or "high water," submerges the already-sodden city in water feet deep. And -- big surprise -- it's happening more than it used to.
This weekend, acqua alta swamped the city, rising to about 1.5 meters, or almost five feet, above sea level.
Venice's high water, or "acqua alta", said to be the sixth highest since 1872, flooded 70% of the city and was high enough to make raised wooden platforms for pedestrians float away. The record high water in Venice -- 1.94 metres in 1966 -- prompted many residents to abandon the city for new lives on the mainland.
Venetians bombarded Facebook with moans about the city's weather forecasters, who had predicted just 1.2 metres of water on Saturday, before correcting their forecast at dawn on Sunday. …
Matteo Secchi, a hotelier and head of a protest group, who grew up in ground floor flat in Venice and recalls splashing into water on getting out of bed, said his hotel was only safe up to 140cm. "This morning the lagoon came right into the hotel entrance, and this is not clean water -- you need to mop with disinfectant twice after it goes down," he said. "The British tourists don't complain but the Americans can't understand how it's possible."