Tourists Swim Through Venice in Floods
Water levels at record high for the fourth time since 2000
Seventy percent of Venice is now under water as heavy rain continues to pound northern and central Italy. The high water mark reached five feet in the northeastern part of the city on Monday, the sixth highest level since records began in 1872. Tourists could be seen sitting at submerged outdoor cafe tables in St. Mark’s Square in their bathing suits. The flooding marks the fourth time since 2000 that the city has recorded record-high water levels. The city’s environment officer has said the flooding is likely a direct result of rapid climate change, and Environment Minister Corrado Clini has called for more funding to improve weather defenses. A sea barrier designed to protect Venice from repeated flooding during the winter months is due to be completed in 2015.