Off-season extreme flooding in Venice – only 4th time since 1872

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Flooding in Venice is not so rare. But when it’s inundated in May, then it is strange. But when the water level rises above 100cm (39.4 inches) in May, then, it is almost unprecedented. On May 18, 2019, the water was very high, namely 112cm (44.1 inches) above the normal. According to tide records from 1872 until today, such an event has only happened 4 times in May: in 1984, 1997 and twice in 2013.

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Unusual Venice flooding almost breaks records in May 2019.

Venice officials reported that on Saturday, May 18, 2019, the tide gauges of Punta della Salute, lato canale della Giudecca and alla Misericordia, registered maximum values of 110cm (43.3 inches), 111cm (43.7 inches) and 112cm (44.1 inches), respectively.

Such values are almost unprecedented for May.

The high tide and flooding phenomenon was due to the full moon tide combined to the passage of a vast perturbation that mainly affected northern Italy and that triggered a slight but persistent sirocco wind in the middle of the day.

According to data, there are only 4 other flooding events with values ​​greater than 110 centimeters in May:

  • 05.21.1984, maximum 118 centimeters (46.5 inches)
  • 05.06.1997, maximum 126 centimeters (49.6 inches)
  • 05.16.2013, maximum 110 centimeters (43.3 inches)
  • 05.23.2013, maximum 112 centimeters (44.1 inches)

The Tide Center recalls that a high tide of 110 centimeters involves a flooding of 12% of the surface of the historical center. Pretty incredible, no?

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[Commune de Venezia, Verona Sette Giorni]

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