'High water' to hit Venice Marathon

Temporary bridges to keep runners, spectators dry

'High water' to hit Venice Marathon

Venice, October 26 - The phenomenon known as 'high water' is forecast to encroach on the Venice Marathon as three straight days of flooding move into the lagoon. According to local meteorologists, water levels will exceed norms by 120 centimeters starting Saturday at 10:00 AM local time, receding later in the day but repeating the trend until Monday. Water levels are estimated to be at 105 centimeters above normal by the time runners arrive in the city on Sunday. Organizers say that temporary elevated bridges will be used to keep runners and spectators dry. A storm front from Spain is currently encroaching on the entire Italian peninsula, with forecasts of high wind and rain for the Venice area. Autumn marks the beginning of the high-tide season, when water routinely spills over the city's banks, flooding its streets and squares. The causes are both natural and man-made. Decades of pumping groundwater caused significant damage to the delicate foundation before the practice was called off. Weather experts say the high-water threat has been increasing in recent years as heavier rains have hit northern Italy. Other possible explanations for the phenomenon include the sea floor rising as a result of incoming silt and gas extraction in the sea off Venice undermining the islands. According to a recent study, plate tectonics are also to blame as the Adriatic plate is sliding beneath the Apennine Mountains, causing the area to drop in elevation. Scientists have conceived various ways of warding off the waters since a catastrophic flood in 1966 and a system of moveable flood barriers called MOSE is near completion after years of controversy.

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