Flooding like 2013 storm surge that hit Hunstanton, Wells, Cley and Hemsby likely to happen more often

PUBLISHED: 12:04 17 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:04 17 February 2018

The flooded quay at Wells in December 2013. Picture: Ian Burt

The flooded quay at Wells in December 2013. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

Serious flooding like the 2013 storm surge which devastated Norfolk’s coastline are set to become more frequent, scientists warn.

The flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian BurtThe flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt

Met Office records show that since 1910 there have been 17 record breaking rainfall months or seasons – with nine of them since 2000. As intense storms are becoming more frequent, sea levels are also rising because of climate change.

In December 2013, spring tides, a low pressure weather system and gale force winds produced a storm surge which battered Norfolk’s coastline causing the worst damage since the 1953 floods.

Homes in Hemsby were washed away. Seafront businesses in Wells and Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary were severely damaged, while nature reserves at Snettisham and Cley were left under water. An EDP appeal raised £30,000 to help victims of the flooding.

The main road through Cley was closed because of flooding. Picture: Ian BurtThe main road through Cley was closed because of flooding. Picture: Ian Burt

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the EA, said: “Climate change is likely to mean more frequent and intense flooding. Floods destroy lives, livelihoods, and property. Our flood defences reduce the risk of flooding, and our flood warnings help keep communities safe when it threatens. But we can never entirely eliminate the risk of flooding. Checking your flood risk is the first step to protecting yourself, your loved ones and your home.”

The agency has launched a flood action campaign , targeting younger people through social media and online advertising to encourage them to check their flood risk at GOV.UK, sign up for free warnings and be prepared to take action when flooding hits. Research shows that 18 to 34 year olds are least likely to perceive flood risk to their area, know how to protect their homes or where to get information. They are also at highest risk of fatality as they are less likely to realise the dangers.

Last year, the Met Office published new research which found that for England and Wales there is a one in three chance of a new monthly rainfall record in at least one region each winter.

Storm damage in Cromer. Picture: Chris MayhewStorm damage in Cromer. Picture: Chris Mayhew

Prof Adam Scaife, who leads flood risk research at the Met Office, said: “The Met Office supercomputer was used to simulate thousands of possible winters, some of them much more extreme than we’ve yet witnessed. This gave many more extreme events than have happened in the real world, helping us work out how severe things could get.”

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