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Venice faces new round of intense flooding weeks after historic high tide

Click to play video 'High tides and massive floods hit Venice once again' High tides and massive floods hit Venice once again
WATCH: High tides and massive floods hit Venice once again

The Italian lagoon city of Venice is facing the prospect of more intense floods at a time when it’s still counting the cost of the exceptional high tide that hit it in November.

Though the tide Monday morning peaked lower than expected at 1.44 metres (4.72 feet), it remains above the 1.40-meter mark considered exceptional.

Click to play video 'Venice braces for more flooding with high tide expected' Venice braces for more flooding with high tide expected
Venice braces for more flooding with high tide expected

READ MORE: Tide barriers to protect Venice from flooding pass another test — but skeptics remain

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The latest surge comes at a particularly inopportune time for the city as it’s still reeling from the 1.87-meter-high tide on Nov. 12, which was the highest in more than 50 years.

Venice’s mayor said the total damage of that swell is set to be around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), with houses, businesses and historic monuments severely hit. Venetian hoteliers have also seen a steep rise in the number of reservations cancelled.

A woman wades through high water during a high tide of 1.44 meters (4.72 feet), in St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019.
A woman wades through high water during a high tide of 1.44 meters (4.72 feet), in St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini)

“I’ve been living here for more than 50 years and never seen anything like that,” said Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of the cultural foundation Venetian Heritage. “It’s more than a month now, this is a prolonged emergency.”

A man carries suitcases as he wades through water during a high tide of 1.44 meters (4.72 feet), in St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019.
A man carries suitcases as he wades through water during a high tide of 1.44 meters (4.72 feet), in St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini)

Officials at the local office that monitors high tides said recent events indicate an increase in their frequency.

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“This is the first time in history that high waters have reached the peak of 1.40 metres five times in a year,” said Alvise Papa, head of the Venice Center High Tides. ”The maximum until now had been two times in a year.”

A woman wades through water during a high tide of 1.44 meters (4.72 feet), in St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019.
A woman wades through water during a high tide of 1.44 meters (4.72 feet), in St. Mark’s Square, in Venice, Italy, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini)