Death toll in Italy storms rises to nine

Venice on 'code red' as city sees worst flooding since 2012

Deadly storms lash Italy leaving Venice afloat | World | |

At the other end of the country, authorities in the lagoon city of Venice barred access to the central St Mark's Square, which was heavily flooded.

Croatia's Adriatic coast has also been battered by gale-force winds and heavy rains that have flooded streets, cut off power and ensnared road and maritime traffic.

Image SourceThe region of Veneto, whose capital and most populous city is Venice, is not new to high tides and floods. Transport officials closed the water bus system except to outlying islands due to the emergency.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said a series of underwater barriers being erected in the lagoon, nicknamed Moses, would have prevented the inundation.

Venice, which is famous for its canals, is frequently overwhelmed by water in the period from October to December, but the recent flooding has seriously affected the area.

The windy weather created an exceptional tide in Venice on Monday, covering three-quarters of the city for the first time in a decade.

He said that the project was not completed due to cost overruns and corruption scandals. However, it got a little out of hand on Monday, with the 5 ft high tide levels. Residents and businesses typically reinforce doors with metal or wooden panels to prevent water from entering bottom floors.

Tourists and locals are donning high boots to navigate the streets.

High winds toppled trees that killed passers-by in four incidents in Naples, Lazio and Liguria. In 1966, when floods swept through the country, famously devastating Florence´s historic centre, the waters reached 194 centimetres in Venice.

Much of Italy is still under alert for flooding from heavy rains, a problem exacerbated by a lack of maintenance of the country's many river beds.

Italian media said it was the second time this century that the basilica had been flooded, and just the fifth time there had been such high water within the body of the cathedral in the structure's 1,000-year history.

The Interior Ministry is urging officials to keep school and offices closed today, in order to keep those who are trapped in storm-struck regions safe.

Weather forecasters are warning that the bad weather will continue.

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