Italy floods: Record high water, but Venice kept dry
24 November 2022
Record high water, but Venice kept dry
Record high tides reached over 2m in the village of Malamocco, causing severe coastal damage. However Venice remained dry thanks to flood defence systems.
November 22nd saw an exceptionally high tide as heavy rains swept across the region, due to a deep area of low pressure, which produced record-breaking tide heights at Malamocco.
Water inundated the streets in Grado, Bibione, Jesolo and Sottomarina, devastating shops, beaches and buildings along the Adriatic coast. Venice and its famous Piazza San Marco fortunately withstood the worst of the floods, with thanks to flood protection systems in place.
The ‘acqua alta’, meaning high tides in Italian, is something Venetians are familiar with throughout autumn and winter. Higher than normal tides from the Adriatic Sea rush into Venice, submerging parts of the city.
The MOSE flood barriers, a system of 78 flood gates in the Venetian Lagoon, mitigate the impacts by protecting Venice from tides of up to 3 metres. It first began operating in October 2020, after the city was devastated by the second-highest tide ever recorded in 2019.
Glass barriers also surround St. Mark's Basilica, because if the corrosive saltwater finds a way in, it means irreparable damage.
However, as the sea level rises, MOSE and glass barriers alone will likely not be sufficient. NASA scientists say that the Adriatic Sea level is rising about 2.3mm a year.