The Stream, November 14, 2019: Second-Highest Tide On Record Hits Venice, Italy, Prompting State of Emergency

The Global Rundown

Venice, Italy, declares a state of emergency as the second-highest tide on record swamps a majority of the city. Wildfires in New South Wales, Australia, ease slightly, but more than 100 blazes continue across the country’s drought-stricken eastern coast. U.S. states must begin taking precautions as hurricanes intensify, a new study warns. Malaysia calls for a revision of a 1962 water supply agreement with Singapore. Residents from a flood-hit village in northern England may be displaced from their homes for up to three weeks. 

“Venice is on its knees. The damage will run into hundreds of millions of euros.” –Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, Italy, in reference to devastating flooding that hit the coastal city this week. Late Tuesday, the lagoon tide reached 187 cm (6ft 2ins), the highest level ever recorded aside from a record-setting 194 cm (6ft 4ins) in 1966. At peak tide, 80 percent of the city was underwater, and officials say the floodwaters are causing “irreparable damage” to the historic Saint Mark’s Basilica. Reuters

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By The Numbers

158 Active fires in Australia as of Wednesday evening, including 80 in Queensland, 76 in New South Wales, and 2 in Western Australia. The fires, which are being spurred by chronically hot, dry conditions in the region, eased slightly on Wednesday but are predicted to intensify again over the weekend. The Guardian 

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3 weeks Length of time that hundreds of residents of flood-hit Fishlake near Doncaster, northern England, may be displaced from their homes as emergency responders work to make the area safe. Floods have deluged several areas in northern England over the past week, and more rain is forecast for Thursday. BBC

Science, Studies, and Reports

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen determined that the frequency of extreme hurricanes to hit the United States has increased by 330 percent in the past century. Despite the intensifying storms, however, only a handful of U.S. states are taking measures to reduce hurricane risks. Researchers and advocates warn that other coastal states should also develop hurricane plans in an effort to mitigate long-term risks. Reuters

On the Radar

Malaysia is calling for revisions of a 1962 water-sharing agreement with Singapore as water reserves in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor drop to 4 percent. Malaysian officials say the reserve, which supplies Johor and Singapore, will be completely depleted by the third quarter of 2020 if nothing is done to avert the impending shortage. Malaysia says investment is needed to boost water levels, and is asking Singapore to renegotiate the prices of water that are laid out in the 1962 accord. Bloomberg

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