Gusting winds and heavy rainfall are proving troublesome in the UK and beyond, with intense weather systems now in place across much of Northwestern Europe.
Heavy storms are expected, so much so in Eastern England that, according to the Environment Agency, coastal tides could reach their highest levels in six decades. At the time of publishing, two fatalities had been recorded.
“In some areas, sea levels could be higher than those during the devastating floods of 1953″, said the Environment Agency, although it acknowledged that, compared to then, flood defence infrastructure is now much improved.
So far, winds reaching 90 miles per hour have marched across Scotland. As a result, no ScotRail train services are presently in operation, while motorists have been told to venture onto the roads only if absolutely necessary. Scottish airport operations haven’t been cancelled entirely but have been significantly affected, nonetheless.
UK Tidal Surge
Now, England is set to experience similar conditions in coming hours and, as this article was being prepared, 100mph winds were just starting to make their presence felt. The Environment Agency expects a peak UK tidal surge at 2230hrs this evening, taking the sea level six feet over the usual high.
“There’s some nasty weather in the North Sea at the moment with gusts of gale force north-westerly winds coupled with spring floods and a large tidal surge”, said the agency’s Matthew Philpott in comments quoted by The BBC. “They are all combining to give quite a risk of flooding.”
In Norfolk’s Great Yarmouth, some 9,000 home visits have been made by police representatives. Those involved have advised residents to seek alternative accommodation for the time being. Elsewhere, in Essex, more than 2,500 home evacuations are in progress, with the prospect of one area’s sea wall being breached.
Storm Surge Warnings
Storm surge protection measures are also being implemented in the capital city, London. Here, the Thames Barrier is being closed as a means of protecting London’s circa eight million residents.
“The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the emergency services, Met Office and local authorities”, the EA added. “Teams are out on the ground checking that flood defences and barriers are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and issuing flood warnings.”
So far, some 30 severe flood warnings have been released, with the prospect of additions in coming hours.