Gondolas on the Mud, Bare Piles… A Spectacular Low Tide Phenomenon has Dried up Venice

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Gondolas on the mud, bare piles… A spectacular low tide phenomenon has dried up Venice

ITALY: The return to normal is expected from Wednesday, assures a tidal specialist

We know the high waters, which regularly flood Venice and jeopardize the foundations of old buildings. We know less about low water, such as can be observed in this month of February in the Serenissima, offering tourists the unusual spectacle of gondolas stranded on mud banks.

However, this is an “absolutely normal” phenomenon, explains Alvise Papa, head of the Venice tide forecasting centre. “About 70% of low tide phenomena occur precisely during this period, from January to February”.

Low tides and anticyclone

Low tides are not enough to dry out the canals, but this year they are accompanied by high atmospheric pressure within an anticyclone preventing the arrival of disturbances. Winter disturbances, accompanied by wind and rain, usually amplify the tides, which is not the case this year.

“Until 2007-2008, we witnessed this phenomenon every year, then we no longer had low tides like those recorded in recent days,” adds Alvise Papa.

Asked about a possible link between the spectacular low tide of recent days and the episode of drought affecting part of Europe or global warming, the expert replied in the negative. “From tomorrow (Wednesday, editor’s note), we will return to a normal situation”, he concludes in a reassuring tone.

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