Venice Flooding Hits 20-Year High
Water up 5 ft. from normal in city of canals; tourists waved away
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2008 8:45 AM CST

(Newser) – The Queen of the Seas is wetter than usual these days, as seasonal flooding has hit a 20-year high, submerging Venice's streets in up to 5 feet of water, BBC reports. The city of canals is now a veritable lake, and the mayor has warned citizens not to go out unless absolutely necessary, and waved away any tourists thinking about visiting.

"Think again," he said, noting that "It's an exceptional 'acqua alta'," and residents should heed official warnings. The situation isn't helped by an ongoing strike of vaporettos, the city's water buses. Though the current flooding is extreme, Venice is no stranger to high water: Waves reached above the normal level about 200 days out of every year.