Skip to comments.Flood Alert For The Highest Tide In 20 Years (UK)
Posted on 08/06/2006 7:44:27 PM PDT by blam
Flood alert for the highest tides in 20 years
By David Sapsted
Thousands of people living in coastal areas are being warned to prepare for mass evacuations next month because of floods.
Similar conditions in 1953 led to a flood that claimed 300 lives
With the highest tides in 20 years predicted during September and October, the Environment Agency is holding road shows to alert people in the most vulnerable, low-lying areas of East Anglia.
Householders are being urged to register with the agency to receive direct flood warnings, and a new Precautionary Evacuation Notice (PEN) system, involving electronic signs as well as siren warnings, is now in place.
"It's really important that people prepare for flooding before a flood actually happens," said Peta Denham of the Environment Agency.
"Although flooding is dreadful, being prepared for it makes it easier to recover afterwards and means you don't lose irreplaceable items such as family photos.
"The PEN procedure we introduced last year gives even better warning to residents and visitors alike that flooding may occur. The road shows are an ideal opportunity for people to find out more about the PEN and help keep themselves safe."
Although sea defences in East Anglia have been improved and could cope with the spring tides on the way over the next two months, the fear is that high winds and low pressure could lead to a storm surge, resulting in a tide up to 10ft higher than expected.
Such conditions in 1953 led to the "great flood" that claimed 300 lives, damaged 24,000 homes and flooded 180,000 acres of land. Similar conditions in 1978 led to equally widespread flooding but, thanks to the lessons learned after 1953, no deaths.
"We are taking the latest threat seriously," said Geoffrey Smith, the mayor of Hunstanton, north Norfolk, which is in the most vulnerable area. "But flooding is something that you learn to live with around here and you take the necessary precautions.
"The problem seems to be exacerbated by the trend to build on every square metre of land you can find. But the people most at risk are in the caravan parks, many of which are close to the coast and often at or below sea level."
Nigel Woonton, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said the evacuation procedures were designed to give the emergency services and householders nine to 18 hours' notice of the need to evacuate.
"The judgment will be made on the basis of tidal surge predictions and weather forecast information so that evacuation can be undertaken in a planned, orderly and safe manner," he said.
Prof Andrew Watkinson, of the University of East Anglia's Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences, said the risk of flooding would increase as sea levels rose and because of a predicted worsening of storm surges. Given limited resources, the Environment Agency was reviewing its sea defences policy to determine where it was fighting a losing battle and would have to cede land to the sea.
There was also, he added, a need for tougher building regulations. "For homes in vulnerable areas these should offer more protection by insisting, for instance, that houses are constructed of materials that can withstand flooding, electrical sockets are placed higher up and air vents are fitted with barriers."
Prof Watkinson added that some of the "hard" coastal defences erected since 1953 had had an adverse effect on flood prevention because they had prevented the forming of natural, sediment barriers.
"There is a growing realisation that we should be moving towards a more flexible coastal policy," he said.
This is solely the fault of Bush and Blair, but really Bush's fault because he controls Blair.
The Tide is High?? Blame Blondie.
That calls for a Deborah Harry photo: