Why Does Venice Flood And How Often Does This Happen

THE WATERWAYS of Venice draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world every year – but the Italian city has frequently been stuck by exceptionally high tides and rising floodwaters!

In actual, the floating city of Venice experiences a natural phenomenon called ‘’Acqua Alta’’ or ‘high water’ that is caused due to tidal peaks in the Adriatric sea, resulting in partial flooding of the city. The cause of the tidal peaks comes down to a number of factors, including the phase and movement of the moon, high wind strength and the low atmospheric pressure.

While the episodes of Acqua Alta are not as dramatic as projected in the media, they are only transitory, and water withdraws entirely within a few hours. Moreover, it doesn’t really flood to the roofs, but usually rises to 5-30 cm and is usually gone in 2 hours at most.

How often does the Flood happen in Venice?

As mentioned earlier, Acqua Alta is mainly caused due to three factors (earth-moon distance, wind strength, and low atmospheric pressure) which are most intense during the autumn and winter months of November and December. In fact, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that nearly 80 percent of the exceptional high-tides in Venice occurred in November and December.

But since, most spots in Venice i.e. St. Mark’s square are extremely low, it gets flooded even when the tide is below average. So, not-so-exceptional “acqua alta” can happen tens of times a year and only flood small parts of the city, whereas more exceptional tides occur less frequently, or not at all.

Luckily, ‘Acqua Alta’ isn’t dangerous and there are no sudden increases in the level of the water.

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