VENICE     -    Venice was inundated by exceptionally high water levels on Friday just days after the lagoon city suffered the worst flood in more than 50 years. The central St. Mark’s Square was submerged and closed to tourists, while shops and hotels were once more invaded by rising waters bringing fresh misery to the fragile city. Local authorities said the high tide peaked at 154 cm (5.05 ft), slightly below expectations and significantly lower than the 187 cm level reached on Tuesday — the second highest tide ever recorded in Venice. But it was still enough to leave 70% of the city under water, fraying the nerves of locals who faced yet another large-scale clean-up operation. “We have been in this emergency for days and we just can’t put up with any more,” said Venetian resident Nava Naccara. The Italian government declared a state of emergency for Venice on Thursday, allocating 20 million euros ($22 million) to address the immediate damage. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro predicted on Friday the costs would be vastly higher. “Venice was destroyed the other day. We are talking about damage totaling a billion euros,” Brugnaro said in a video posted on Twitter. “This is a state of emergency, but we are managing it.” Sirens wailed across Venice from the early morning hours, warning of the impending high tide, and the crypt beneath St. Mark’s Basilica was swiftly inundated.