High tides, heavy rain cause more flooding across northern Italy

With four tides above 140 cm since November 11, this is the worst month for high tides in Venice since 1872.

    Venice has been hit by further high water levels after weeks of flooding brought the lagoon city virtually to its knees.

    The famous St Mark's Square was closed briefly on Sunday as the acqua alta (peak tide level) reached 130 centimetres (4.26 feet).

    Tourists and Venetians were forced to wade through the high waters yet again after weeks of rain and wind caused further flooding across the city.

    The city beloved around the world for its canals, historic architecture and art was hit by a high tide at 187cm 6.14 feet) on November 12. That was just short of the record of  194cm (6.4 feet) set in 1966 and caused the city's worst flooding in 50 years.

    In normal conditions, tides of 80-90cm (31.5 - 35 inches) are generally seen as high but manageable.

    With four tides above 140cm (4.6 feet) since November 11, this is the worst month for high tides in Venice since 1872 when official statistics were first produced.

    The UNESCO world heritage city is home to 50,000 people and gets around 36 million visitors every year.

    Further west on the other side of Italy, a portion of a motorway bridge linking Savona to Turin collapsed on Sunday.

    Fire service personnel inspected the bridge on the A6 highway near Savona, after huge chunks of concrete plummeted to the ground due to a landslide.

    According to a first inspection, local authorities said that there were no confirmed reports of fatalities or injuries in the area but firefighters were checking the area by helicopter.

    Governor of the Liguria region, Giovanni Toti, asked residents to remain in their houses as much of Italy has been pummelled by torrential rains in recent days, with widespread flooding, especially in the northern regions.

    The worst of the heavy rain is now clearing away to the southeast, moving across Greece and heading towards western Turkey. There will be further showers across Italy later in the week but they will not be anywhere near as heavy or prolonged.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency