Visitors walk in flooded St-Mark square in Venice, in the morning of November 17, 2019 prior an "acqua alta", or high water, of…
Visitors walk in flooded St-Mark square in Venice, in the morning of Nov. 17, 2019 prior an "acqua alta", or high water, of 160 centimeters (over five feet) expected at midday.

Venice's iconic St. Mark's Square was closed Sunday as heavy flooding continued to affect the Italian city.

Flood waters in Venice hit 1.5 meters on Sunday - just lower than the 1.87 meter level on Tuesday, which marked the most severe flooding the city had seen in fifty years.

High tides were forecast to reach up to 1.1 meters in the coming weeks. Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted Sunday that the water had stopped rising. He has estimated that invading salt water has caused over $1 billion in damage.

The city famous for its labyrinth of canals often experiences severe tidal flooding, called acqua alta, in the winter when strong winds funnel water in from the northern Adriatic Sea.

The mayor blamed climate change for the ever-worsening flooding. He and other officials called for the completion of a long-delayed project to construct offshore barriers.

The flood-protection system, known by the acronym MOSE, has been delayed by cost overruns and corruption scandals.

Other cities across the country including Pisa and Florence have also experienced flooding.