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Sea Levels in Venice Plunge to 14-Year Low
By Wendy Heller, February 20, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Int.iol.co.za

Sea levels in the lagoon city of Venice plunged to a 14-year low this week, beaching some gondolas and exposing the canal-beds of famed waterways.

The Centre Maree, whose forecasts are vital for organising transport in Venice, said a high-pressure system set off a "Code White" alert that signals low sea levels.

Canals slipped on Monday to 80 centimetres below average sea level, the lowest since 1994, and remained at "Code White" levels on Tuesday.

The lowest level ever recorded in Venice was 1.24 metres below in 1882, the Centre Maree said, citing historical research.

It had previously cited a 92 cm drop in 1989 as the record low, but later explained this was only the lowest since the Centre Maree itself began taking measurements in the 1980s.

"The forecasts have to be as accurate as possible because you can't go down certain canals (at extremely low levels), so ambulance services need to be informed, the firemen need to be informed," said Franca Pastore at the Centre Maree.

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