ST. PETERSBURG, November 17 (RIA Novosti) - Authorities in St. Petersburg shut floodgates and navigation channels to fight potential flooding in the city early Sunday morning.
The two navigation channels and six water discharge sluices that provide water flow through the St. Petersburg Dam were shut at 2 and 3 a.m. respectively, the city’s Emergencies Ministry said.
The ministry said at 9 a.m. Sunday that the threat of flooding was over, but that a storm warning for the city was still in place.
Weather experts had predicted that water levels at the mouth of St. Petersburg’s Neva River could rise up to 194 centimeters from gale-force winds.
Flooding is registered in St. Petersburg when the water level rises above 160 cm as measured by a gauge at the city’s Mining Institute.
At 9 a.m., the Institute’s recorded water level was 93 cm, the Emergencies Ministry said.
Flooding is a chronic problem in the city seen by many Russians as the country's cultural heart. Cyclones, tidal waves and snowmelt have all contributed to some 300 floods in St. Petersburg since it was founded in 1703.
St. Petersburg’s $3.85-billion dam complex, a project begun in 1979 but abandoned for cost reasons in the mid-90s, was completed in 2011. It was first used to prevent the city’s estimated 309th flood in November 2011, saving potentially over a billion rubles in damage.