UK & World News
Venice Floods: Lagoon City Under Water
Heavy rain and strong winds have led to 70% of Venice being flooded, while some 200 people were evacuated from their homes in Tuscany because of severe weather.
Authorities said sea levels in the lagoon city reached a peak of 5ft (1.5 metres) above normal before receding slightly.
This marked the sixth-highest level since records began in 1872, Italian news agency ANSA said.
Moveable barriers that would rise from the sea bed to protect Venice from high tides have been in the works for years but will not be operational before 2014.
In Tuscany, around 200 people were evacuated from their homes because of heavy rain which caused mudslides.
The most affected region was the province of Massa and Carrara, where around 50 people were evacuated and a car was swept away by an overflowing river.
Residents have been told to avoid going into the streets and to stay in the upper floors of their homes.
In Pisa, some streets have been without electricity.
In Liguria, the region bordering Tuscany, 30 people were forced to flee their homes.
In anticipation of the floods two days ago, authorities issued warnings and planned security measures to avoid casualties after 13 people died in Tuscany and Liguria a year ago.
The bad weather is said to be heading slowly towards the centre of the country and is set to hit Rome where civil defence forces have been put on alert.