Sirens announce flooding in Venice, which is common in winter and particularly from October to November although anytime from September to April is at risk.
Increasingly the floods are not caused by Venice sinking, as it once did, but by a rise in sea level linked to climate change. The sinking of Venice was a result of drawing water from boreholes under the city but this has now been stopped.
During an Acqua Alta, a high tide that floods the city, more than half of Venice can be underwater. A full moon and winds blowing off the Adriatic will increase the risk. Besides the sirens, residents also receive flood alerts by mobile phone messages, warning them of the level of threat.
Temporary footbridges are put down in Piazza San Marco and doors are sealed with watertight boards. Shops do a roaring trade in disposable rubber over-boots but the waters usually recede within 12 hours when the tide goes back out. Locals have their own boots, of course, and some hotels offer guests the use of them.
The Mose Project (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico – Experimental Electromechanical Module) is designed to prevent flooding by the use of seabed barriers that can be raised across the inlets to the Venice Lagoon. When completed in 2018/2020, at least two years after the initial target of 2016, it will have cost more than seven billion euros.
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