Sunday, December 04, 2005

Venice Flooded

ROME (Reuters) - Bad weather battered much of Italy on Saturday, bringing heavy snows to the north, torrential rain to the centre and widespread flooding to Venice.

Hundreds of cars and lorries were snowed in on roads across northwestern Italy, while the tram system in Italy's financial capital Milan was knocked out for most of the day thanks to the winter storm.

In Venice, water covered 70 percent of the historic centre as heavy rains combined with a high tide to inundate the lagoon city. In parts, the water was so high it covered the raised walkways set up to overcome any eventual flooding.

In the northern region of Liguria, a cargo ship sank when strong winds drove it into a breakwater outside the port of La Spezia. All 13 crew were saved but authorities fear 14,000 litres of oil will leak from the ship's tanks, causing a possible environmental disaster.

The storm also hit Rome, drenching the Italian capital and flooding one of the main roads into the city.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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