Winds and tides combine for flood risk

A combination of strong winds, high tides and low pressure have led to the heightened risk of flooding across East Anglia.An area of deep low pressure is moving over the coast of Scotland bringing with it strong winds - possibly up to Force 8 which is between 62mph and 75mph .

A combination of strong winds, high tides and low pressure have led to the heightened risk of flooding across East Anglia.

An area of deep low pressure is moving over the coast of Scotland bringing with it strong winds - possibly up to Force 8 which is between 62mph and 75mph .

This is funnelling a surge of water in the North Sea. The sea level is already rising due to these strong winds but the impact of high tide at 7.45am tomorrow is expected to have the worst effect, possibly resulting in severe flooding in areas from Hopton in Norfolk and Shingle Street, near Woodbridge.

David Kemp, flood incident management team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “What we have is strong northerly winds off the coast of Scotland that becomes a surge in the North Sea. Millions of gallons of water are being pushed down.

“We have also got the effect of astronomical conditions and the high tide. The effect of this surge is worst when it coincides with high tide. That will happen somewhere around Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.”

Emma Coombs, duty forecaster at UEA-based WeatherQuest, said: “The flooding is not as a result of rainfall it's an accumulation of strong winds funnelling down the North Sea which is then going to potentially cause localised flooding.

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“There are high tides at the moment but it's the fact that the general level of the sea has lifted slightly as a result of the winds. The baseline from which the high tide goes on top is slightly higher.

“There will be strong north westerly winds as a result of an area of deep low pressure which moved across Scotland overnight and is now moving across the North Sea into southern Scandinavia.”

A Met Office spokesman said the storm surge was partially due to the geography of the North Sea as it became narrower and shallower as it moved southwards.

“You see a very deep depression across the north of Scotland and then moving south-eastwards towards Denmark,” he said.

He said that particularly strong northerly winds had pushed water down the North Sea “a bit like a funnel from the wide top to the shallower bottom, which increases the level of the water'”.

“It's the same depression that brought windy weather to Scotland. It's now gone towards Denmark,” he said. “As the water is pushed outwards it is channelled into a narrower gap.”

It is thought that such storm surges happen around every 20 years. The greatest surge on record for the North Sea as a whole occurred on January 31 and February 1 1953, when hundreds of people were killed.

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