East Coast Flood Warning Tonight

I was thirteen when the Great flood of Canvey Island happened.

At that time, we did not have TV, but the graphic photographs in the newspapers, and the Pathe News coverage at the local cinema gave a vivid and lasting record, in my mind’s memory at least, of a terrible tragedy.

In another life, when I studied, and even later taught, navigation, the phenomenon of the combined results of strong winds and spring tides on that occasion were often quoted.

These days, we hear a lot about ‘Global Warming’

Tonight we have a reported surge of at least 3m of water coming down from the North Sea. We are one day shy of one of the highest spring tides.

High winds are forecast.

Eight Severe flood warnings have been issued.
Perhaps the greatest differences from 1953 are:

1 That we have far better communications these days, and advance warnings.

2 The Prime Minister is in conference in COBRA and everything that can be done should be well supervised with clear advance information

3 We have the Thames Barrier which is to be closed at 2000 hours tonight.

For those who were not around in 1953 and maybe think it was akin to the dreadful flooding experienced earlier this year ( when we, ourselves were too close for comfort), there is coverage here.

Good Luck tonight, people of the East Coast, we are thinking of you.
At least you are forewarned this time!

2 thoughts on “East Coast Flood Warning Tonight

  1. Hilary Walker

    Although I now live in southern Spain with my husband (and 20 month old daughter) I originate from Romford, Essex, so obviously am familiar with Canvey Island etc. We were fascinated with the BBC’s Archive Hour documentary (on radio) about the great flood that was broadcast a few years ago; so much so we listened, riveted, twice to the programme. Surprisingly later on I saw the same programme on BBC TV (exactly the same words!) so it’s obviously where it originated. (I was amazed to learn my Dad had sailed on that ship that was lost, the ferry between Stranraer and N. Ireland, during the 2nd WW, when he was training for the RAF. He said it was a terrible crossing even in clement weather).

    So, on hearing the flood warnings on the BBC Radio 4 news tonight, I immediately thought of that programme, of the devastation and tragedy, and I too thought how different things are today in terms of communication and prediction etc; and hopefully how much better prepared “we” are now compared to then. I too will be thinking of all you people who live in the area and hoping/praying for a not-too-awful outcome.

  2. Lesley

    Thankfully, it was not as bad as predicted. The surge itself was a few centimeters lower than had been feared

    Unfortunately, reporters on this mornings news programmes appear to be disappointed that a major tragedy did not in fact occur!

    The main difference this time was made by the huge improvement in communications… TV… telephones. mobile phones… integrated sea defence and safety departments.

    I for one would prefer to be forewarned than to be overwhelmed unexpectedly.


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