November 8, 2007

Heavy Weather - England and Tidal Surge

England seems to be in for a bit of battering tonight. From The Daily Mail
Tidal wave heading for England's east coast 'threatens homes and lives'
Tens of thousands of householders are today preparing for some of the worst coastal floods in decades.

Sea levels could rise up to 9ft this morning along part of the East Coast, putting lives at risk.

Sea defences in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft could be breached around 7am, sending a torrent of salt water into the towns.

Police and fire services were last night preparing to evacuate thousands of homes. Householders were stocking up on sandbags and emergency provisions.

The Norfolk Broads, Essex and northern Kent could also be hit, and the entire coast from Immingham in Humberside to Margate in Kent has been told to be on alert.

The Environment Agency, which issued eight severe flood warnings, last night said it was "gravely concerned" about the threat.
And this is not the first time something like this has happened:
England suffered one of its worst peacetime disasters in 1953 when floods battered the east coast, claiming hundreds of lives.

On the night of January 31, the sea swept up to two miles inland, with huge tides surging down the coast between the Tees and the Thames.

By the morning, 307 people in coastal towns and villages had lost their lives. Around 24,000 homes were damaged and more than 30,000 people had been moved to safety.
On one hand, we have much better weather forecasting and communications but on the other hand, we have more people building their 'little cottage by the sea' on areas prone (and well known to be prone) to flooding. Holland is also in line to be hit. From Reuters/UK:
UPDATE 3-Dutch, British coasts face serious flood threat
The North Sea coasts of the Netherlands and Britain faced their worst flood threat for decades on Thursday from a storm-driven tidal surge.

Authorities compared the approaching conditions to those in 1953 when floods killed more than 2,000 people in both countries.

The flood defences of the entire Dutch coast were put on alert and three surge barriers are expected to be closed as the storm approaches. The transport ministry said it was the first time since 1976 that the whole coast had been put on alert.

Shipping traffic to and from Rotterdam harbour is due to be suspended from 2000 GMT, a port spokesman said. The suspension is expected to remain in place until 1700 GMT on Friday.

For the first time since its construction in the 1990s, a storm surge barrier protecting Rotterdam and its harbour is expected to be closed due to the approaching storm.
A crude map illustrates the problem -- wind is driving the water south through a place where the North Sea narrows considerably. The water level is pushed up:
Good luck and God Speed to our friends over there... Posted by DaveH at November 8, 2007 7:43 PM | TrackBack
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