Why did King’s Lynn and Wells escape flooding on Friday night?

The scene at Wells in 2013. Picture: Ian Burt

The scene at Wells in 2013. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Forecast tides were on a par with those predicted on the night of the storm surge of 2013, which brought devastation to coastal communities.

The flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt

The flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

But fortunately one of the three ingredients needed to threaten coastal defences was missing.

A high tide of 7.2m was forecast for King's Lynn on Friday night - just a centimetre below the tide forecast for December 5, 2013.

Cromer's forecast tide of 5.2m was just a centimetre lower than the tide forecast on the night of the great storm surge, while Lowestoft's forecast high of 2.7m weas identical.

Along with spring tides - the highest of each lunar cycle - two other variables must kick in to create a storm surge.

The flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt

The flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT


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As air pressure falls, the sea level rises. That means sea levels are higher in the autumn and winter, which bring low pressure weather systems from the Atlantic.

The final ingredient needed for the perfect storm is a gale force wind. In 2013, there had been a northerly gale blowing, which along with low pressure and spring tide caused a bulge in the sea. As the tide entered the shallower and narrower waters of the southern North Sea off our coast.

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On Friday night, the winds dropped robbing the sea of destructive power.

The flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt

The flooded quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

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