East Coast flooding in UK – 5th December 2013

On Thursday 5th December 2013 large areas of the east coast of England were affected by coastal flooding on a scale not seen since the Great floods of 1953. A combination of factors led to the storm surge that was responsible for flooding. This included a high spring tide, an area of low pressure and high northerly winds.

Tidal surge graph spurn 2013

Tidal surge graph spurn 2013 – source: http://www.tides4fishing.com/uk/england/spurn-head

The tidal coefficient was 94(very high). The tide heights were 0.9 m, 7.1 m, 1.1 m and 7.2 m. We can compare these levels with the maximum high tide recorded in the tide tables for Spurn Head which is of 7.6 m and a minimum height of 0.3 m.

What is a storm surge and why does it happen?

Video from the BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25229885 Met Office Article – http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/learn-about-the-weather/weather-phenomena/storm-surge The Atlantic storm, which brought the coastal flooding and gale-force winds of up to 100mph, caused widespread disruption across the UK and claimed the lives of two men – in West Lothian, Scotland, and in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

The Environment Agency said 800,000 homes in England had been protected by flood defences and better forecasting had given people “vital time” to prepare. The agency said sea levels had peaked at 5.8m (19ft) in Hull – the highest seen by the East Yorkshire city since 1953 – and 4.7m (15ft) in Dover, Kent, the highest recorded there in more than 100 years.

Preparing for the 2013 storm surge:

Video report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25237082
Thousands evacuated: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-25228834

Warnings issued: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2013/storm-surge
Preparing your home: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20497598
Thames Barrier raised: http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2013/12/05/thames-barrier-to-close-tonight-as-forcasts-predict-the-biggest-storm-surge-for-30-years/
How the barrier works:  http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/38359.aspx The Environment Agency estimates that 800,000 homes and businesses were saved due to flood defence schemes.

Impacts of December 2013 floods: Social Impacts

Thousands of people were evacuated from Britain’s east coast of England. Victims of the most serious tidal surge in 60 years have been warned to avoid direct contact with floodwater and beware of rats moving into homes.More detail and pictures here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2519891/Beware-invasion-flood-rats-Homeowners-hit-tidal-surge-told-avoid-contact-water-amid-fears-pest-invasion.html

People Urged to remain vigilant: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/uk-weather-warnings-scotland-and-north-battered-by-100mph-winds-as-biggest-tidal-surge-in-60-years-threatens-east-coast-8984542.html

Impacts of the December 2013 floods: Economic Impacts

Economic impact in North Norfolk – http://www.northnorfolk.org/files/Tidal-surge-combined-info.pdf
Seven Cliff Top Homes Collapse in Hemsby – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-25254808

1,400 homes were flooded, including 300 in Boston, Lincolnshire, according to Environment Agency (EA) figures.

Some good images and videos on the Daily Mail website: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2518340/Britain-battered-worst-tidal-surge-60-years-Sea-walls-breached-20ft-waves-smash-string-east-coast-towns.html

VIDEO – Bungalow falls off cliff in Norfolk http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25258149
VIDEO – Thousands evacuated: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25253733
VIDEO – Homes in Whitby flooded: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25257747 plus:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25258150
VIDEO – Cleaning up after the floods: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25257754
VIDEO – Aerial footages of flood aftermath: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25260863