'System failure': Popular tourist spot goes underwater after drainage system fails

·5-min read
People walk across a flooded street on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk across a flooded street on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)

Venice in Italy was under water on Tuesday after a newly installed system of mobile artificial dams failed to activate.

Venetians and tourists pulled on their rubber boots to deal with flooding that reached a height of 4.5 feet above sea level in the afternoon.

A man walks across a flooded canal on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A man walks across a flooded canal on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)

The waters drowned St Mark's Square, which is Venice city's lowest area (about one metre above sea level), and flooded the famous basilica as many shopkeepers blocked their entrances with wood panels to keep the water out.

People talk photos in the middle of a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
People talk photos in the middle of a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a Reuters report, as the huge deluge was pushed into the lagoon city, authorities were caught off guard before they could activate the flood barriers rolled out just two months ago.

The system of 78 flood gates, known as Mose, guard the entrance to the Venetian lagoon and are designed to protect the city from tides of up to three metres. However, they require 48 hours’ notice to be activated.

Weather bulletins in past days had forecast rainfall pushing sea levels up to 120 centimetres, below the 130cm threshold at which the flood barriers are operated.

TOPSHOT - People walk across an arcade by a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - People walk across an arcade by a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk across an shopping arcade by a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk across an shopping arcade by a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A shop owner protects water from getting in on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A shop owner protects water from getting in on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A view shows a flooded St. Mark's Square with the Doge's Palace (Rear L) and a luminous Christmas Tree installation by Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi (Front R) on December 8, 2020 following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A view shows a flooded St. Mark's Square with the Doge's Palace (Rear L) and a luminous Christmas Tree installation by Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi (Front R) on December 8, 2020 following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A view shows a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A view shows a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
Men wearing waterproof gear walk across a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
Men wearing waterproof gear walk across a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A person takes photos while standing on a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A person takes photos while standing on a flooded St. Mark's Square on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A view shows the flooded entrance of St. Mark's Basilica on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
A view shows the flooded entrance of St. Mark's Basilica on December 8, 2020 in Venice following a high tide "Alta Acqua" event following heavy rains and strong winds, and the mobile gates of the MOSE Experimental Electromechanical Module that protects the city of Venice from floods, were not lifted (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)

(With inputs from AFP, Reuters)