August 13th, 2013

Flooding in St. Petersburg

Does anyone know anything about the practice of firing off cannons to alert the population of St. Petersburg to the flooding of the Neva River? There are a couple of references to it in Dostoyevsky, which is how I found out about it, but nothing very substantial.

Specifically, I'd like to know when they stopped doing this, and whether there was some kind of set code in which a certain number of shots equaled a certain degree of flooding or something. I have a character who lived in St. Petersburg around the turn of the 20th century and I'd like him to have a distinct memory of the cannons going off.

I've tried searching "St. Petersburg cannon flooding," "St. Petersburg flood warning system," and a couple of similar things, all in English. If anyone has a resource in Russian I can probably read it, but I wasn't confident enough to sort through a bunch of Russian search results.