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12/02/2008

Highest tide in 20 years floods historic Venice

VENICE, Italy – Venice could use a bailout. The city built on water has too much of it. Image: AP – People wade through high water by Venice's Rialto Bridge, northern Italy, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008.....Slideshow: Venice suffers severe flooding

Residents and tourists waded through knee-deep water Monday as they navigated the city's narrow streets and alleys, and its historic St. Mark's Square was inundated. Boxes of tourist merchandise floated inside the flooded shops around the square and even the city's famed pigeons sought refuge on rooftops and windowsills.

One of the highest tides in its history brought Venice to a virtual halt, rekindling a debate over a plan to build moveable flood barriers in an effort to save the lagoon city from high tides.

City officials said the tide peaked at 61 inches (156 centimeters), well past the 40-inch (110-centimeter) flood mark, as strong winds pushed the sea into the city.

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