Venice mayor blames climate change as Italian city inundated by highest tide in 50 years

Dramatic photos and video captured in Venice this week show rain-booted tourists and residents wading through the flooded streets and alleyways of the Italian city. Some said they’d been forced to essentially swim through the City of Canals after it was inundated by the highest tide Venice has seen in more than 50 years.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who said he would declare a state of disaster over the flooding, blamed climate change for the “devastating” acqua alta, or high waters, which peaked at over 6 feet on Tuesday night.

“The situation is dramatic,” Brugnaro said on Twitter, per a Reuters translation. The exceptionally high tide “is going to leave an indelible wound,” he added.

The city’s famed Saint Mark’s Square was deluged by more than 3 feet of water, and Saint Mark’s Basilica was flooded for only the sixth time in 1,200 years, Reuters reported.

Four of the church’s floodings have occurred in the last 20 years, the outlet reported.

Related: Venice Italy

The Guardian, citing La Stampa, said at least two people have died in the Venice floods. A man was reportedly fatally electrocuted after floodwaters rushed into his home, and the body of another man was found in his home.

Heavy rains have battered swathes of Italy in recent days, bringing flood conditions to many parts of the country. The deluge forced schools in many southern cities including Taranto and Matera to close, AFP reported.

More bad weather is expected in the coming days, meteorologists have warned.

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