In the week from 11 to 18 November 2019, the city of Venice in Italy experienced four exceptionally high tidal peaks, flooding large parts of the city. While flooding happens frequently in Venice, the city did not suffer from four extreme events in one week before. We examined the meteorological conditions and water levels during these events using in situ, remotely sensed and modelled datasets. During the investigated week, spring tides coincided with a very high mean November sea level. For three of the four events, strong sirocco winds in addition pushed the water in the Adriatic Sea towards Venice, coincident with the tidal maximum. For the most extreme event on 12 November, a mesoscale atmospheric system passed over Venice just at the time of the maximum tide. Comparison of model forecasts with in situ sea level measurements highlights that the model provides useful large-scale information that can feed the higher-resolution models used to operationally forecast storm surges. However, the winds associated with the local storm were not resolved in the atmospheric model, resulting in an underestimation of the maximum water level in the official forecast. Higher-resolution atmospheric modelling and assimilation of satellite wind observations may further improve the water level forecasts in extreme conditions.
Rianne Giesen, Emanuela Clementi, Marco Bajo, Ivan Federico, Ad Stoffelen and Rosalia Santoleri. The November 2019 record high water levels in Venice, Italy
Journal: Journal of Operational Oceanography (Copernicus Marine Service Ocean State Report, Issue 5), Volume: 14:sup1, Year: 2021, First page: 156, Last page: 162, doi: 10.1080/1755876X.2021.1946240