Venice has been hit by its highest tide in more than 50 years
The Mayor of Venice has said he wants to declare a state of disaster.
Venice has been hit by its highest tide in more than 50 years, leaving much of the city flooded.
Officials said the tide peaked at 187cm (6.14ft) at 10.50pm on Tuesday (12 November). Only once since records began in 1923 has the water crept even higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966.
The flood has left tourists wading through the streets as they seek shelter from the wind, which has created waves in St Mark's Square.
Many of the city's historic squares have been left deep underwater. St Mark's Square - one of the lowest parts of the city - was one of the worst hit areas.
Pierpaolo Campostrini, a member of St Mark's council, said the levels of flooding on Tuesday had only been seen five times in the long history of the basilica, where construction began in 828 and which was rebuilt after a fire in 1063.
Elsewhere, visitors to Venice have been forced to make their way along temporary platforms above the water, while others donned wet weather clothes and waded through the floods.
Clip via La Repubblica
"The situation is dramatic. We ask the government to help us. The cost will be high. This is the result of climate change,” Venice’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, said on social media.
A press conference is scheduled for 12pm on Wednesday, where Brugnaro is expected to declare a state of crisis. The Italian coast guard has already laid on extra boats to serve as water ambulances.
Brugnaro added that the flood, which he blamed on the climate crisis, was "a wound that will leave a permanent mark".
According to the BBC, two people have died on the island of Pellestrina, a thin strip of land that separates the Venice lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. A man was electrocuted as he tried to start a pump in his home and a second person was found dead elsewhere.
A project to protect the city from flooding by building 78 floating gates has been under way since 2003, but it has been hit by soaring costs, scandals and delays.
Italy was hit by heavy rainfall on Tuesday with further bad weather expected in the coming days.
Alle 12.00 conferenza stampa con @zaiapresidente e Angelo Borelli @DPCgov
Chiederemo stato di crisi. Cittadini e imprese raccolgano materiale utile a dimostrare danni subiti. Nei prossimi giorni comunicheremo modalità per richiesta di contributo
Info: https://t.co/SzLWTGi5XM pic.twitter.com/NDXsFLo34R
— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) November 13, 2019
⚠Anche oggi affrontando maree che segnano record negativi. Domani dichiareremo lo stato di calamità. Chiediamo al #Governo di aiutarci, i costi saranno alti. Questi sono gli effetti dei cambiamenti climatici. Il Mose va terminato presto. Domani scuole chiuse a Venezia e isole. pic.twitter.com/iD2Y7mbOBf
— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) November 12, 2019