Venice floods attributed to climate change


As coastal areas of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are just drying out from horrific flooding prompted by Hurricane Sandy, more watery disaster has struck 4,200 miles away in Italy. Following torrential rains, Venice is experiencing unusually bad flooding.

It’s the fourth time floods have exceeded norms there since 2000.

One of the world’s great artistic treasures, the low-lying city of lagoons on the Adriatic Sea experiences problems from high waters every winter. Especially around St. Mark’s Square, many of its Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance buildings are regularly flooded.

But as tides reached nearly five feet higher than normal by Monday, reports this time put 70% of Venice underwater.

International Business Times reports that Corrado Clini, Italy’s environment minister, has insisted that global climate change is to blame. Venice is in the process of erecting an elaborate system of sea walls to cope with the worsening annual flooding, but work is not scheduled for completion until 2015.

Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist and Penn State University professor, told The Times earlier this month that, for Americans, Hurricane Sandy “has galvanized attention to … the role that climate

Crowds flood Vatican City for dual papal canonization

Priests sing and dance in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims were gathering here Saturday in heady anticipation of Sunday’s dual canonization of two of the most influential popes of recent times, John Paul II and John XXIII.

It will mark the first time in the long history of the Roman Catholic Church that two ex-popes are made saints on the same day.

On Saturday, the Vatican confirmed another first—retired Pope Benedict XVI will assist Pope Francis during the sainthood ceremony. That means two living popes will help canonize a pair of their predecessors in a singular celebration of four pontiffs, alive and dead.

Authorities expect as many as 1 million pilgrims and other visitors to descend on the Vatican. Video hookups of Sunday’s ceremony will be set up at piazzas throughout the city.

Police were preparing Saturday to erect barriers around St Peter’s Square, leaving it accessible at a few entrances equipped with metal detectors. Some visitors brought sleeping bags and apparently planned to stay overnight near the square.


Dangerous thunderstorms hit South; flooding, evacuations in Alabama

Flood waters cover a street in a mobile home park in Pelham, Ala., on Monday. Police and firefighters had to rescue people who were trapped by muddy, fast-moving water after storms dumped torrential rains in central Alabama.

A series of dangerous thunderstorms pelted the Southeast on Monday, sending rescue crews to a central Alabama mobile home park where hundreds of residents were evacuated from flood waters after a creek overran it banks, emergency officials said.

The storms spread overnight from Mississippi into Alabama and Georgia, triggering flash floods, causing power outages and shutting down roads.

Every firefighter in the Pelham Fire Department was out in the field trying to remove residents from hundreds of flooded mobile homes at Green Park South, said Robin Wilkinson, administrative assistant with the department.

Alabama Power Co., the state’s largest electric utility, said 11,000 homes and businesses were without power; about 6,200 of those are in the Birmingham area.

The National Weather Service

What we know Colorados floods by the numbers

Wretched weather continued to hamper rescue efforts in Colorado on Sunday as officials released damage estimates illustrating the magnitude of the disaster.

By the numbers, here’s some analysis of what we know about Colorado’s floods, along with what we don’t.

Number of fatalities: 5

This is the official statewide figure reported by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management as of Sunday evening, but some state officials have hinted that they expect the death toll to rise.

A more informal total of six presumed dead was circulating around the media on Sunday. Larimer County officials said an 80-year-old woman reportedly had been swept away by the floodwaters. If confirmed, she would be the disaster’s sixth victim.

But until every river and ruin has been searched, it may not be clear how many people have died.
This figure, again from the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, was “approximate and changing throughout the day” — a reflection of the confusing and chaotic conditions.

It’s not unusual for the number of missing to plunge in the days after a disaster as displaced residents — some