The photos are shocking.

Venetian Drought

An unusually dry winter in Europe is causing Venice, Italy's world-famous canals to dry up, as seen in alarming new images — a growing climate crisis rearing its head.

It's been a perfect storm: a winter heatwave, as well as a severe lack of rain and snow, have caused major waterways in Europe to plummet to shockingly low levels.

The timing couldn't be worse, considering the continent had already experienced severe droughts last year.

Stefano Mazzola/Getty Images

Dry Canals

Italy in particular has been hit hard, with its longest river Po bringing in a shocking 61 percent less water than usual at this time of year, CNN reports.

Venice is suffering in a particularly concrete way, with gondolas and other water taxis grinding to a halt due to drying canals.

The UNESCO World Heritage site, which dates back to the fifth century, has in many areas been reduced to a mud pit, to the shock of the city's many visitors.

Photos show long stretches of the city's canals reduced to a puddle, exposing the mud and the adjacent buildings' foundations.

Stefano Mazzola/Getty Images

Not just tourists are affected by the water level drop. The city relies on water ambulances, which use the canals as a way to get around, according to Agence France-Presse.

It's a grimly peculiar situation since Venice is usually dealing with high, not low, water levels, especially between October and January, when it's not uncommon for central parts like the city's main square to be partially submerged.

City officials are now praying for some much-needed rain — roughly 50 days of it — as experts told AFP, to reverse a crisis that has been building since the winter of 2020.

READ MORE: 'Never-ending drought emergency': Italy's iconic Venice canals have dried up [USA Today]

More on droughts: Earth Should Brace Itself For Multi-Decade "Mega-Droughts"

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