By Newsroom Reporter
VENICE, ITALY – On October 30th, violent thunderstorms, small tornadoes that blew roofs off homes, and hurricane-force winds lashed Italy from Piedmont to Sicily, leaving at least eleven people dead, many more injured and firefighters and other rescue workers scrambling to respond to emergency calls.
In the aftermath, with 75 percent of the lagoon-city under water due to the worst flood in the last decade and hundreds of tourists stranded, Venice has been placed on “red alert” as large sections of Italy are battered by intense storms, flooding and howling winds.
Flooding in Venice is not infrequent, occurring when high winds push water from the lagoon into the canals. When that happens, about four times a year, the city has a complex monitoring system for measuring the ebb and flow of water.
When the level reaches 43 inches, the officials issue warnings and residents and businesses respond by barricading their doors with metal or wooden panels to stop water from flowing in.
This time, the inclement weather and rain have brought the levels to highs last seen in November, 2012, and are forecast to rise even higher – to nearly 63 inches – prompting Venice’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, to complain that the floods could have been prevented if a long-planned series of barriers in the lagoon actually had been finished.
Venice will be underwater within a century if the acceleration in global warming is not quelled and flood defenses installed, a new climate change report has warned. The ancient and iconic city will be flooded because the Mediterranean Sea is forecast to rise by up to 140cm before 2100, according to the research.
The same rise in sea level is predicted to swamp a 176-mile long coastline in the north Adriatic and parts of the west coast of Italy, because of greenhouse gas emissions. The report, published in Quarternary International, claimed up to 5,500km2 of coastal plains will be flooded before 2100.
“The subsequent loss of land will impact the environment and local infrastructures, suggesting land planners and decision makers [should] take into account these scenarios for cognizant coastal management,” said lead author Fabrizio Antonioli.
“Our method developed for the Italian coast can be applied worldwide in other coastal areas expected to be affected by marine ingression due to global climate change.”