East Coast, River, and Surface Water flooding
…There are three types of flooding considered within this page:
- Coastal (where high tides and storm surges combine to cause the sea to flood inland)
- Rivers and streams, known as ‘fluvial flooding’ (where waterways overflow their banks into surrounding water areas)
- Surface water (where rainfall overwhelms the drainage systems)
Picture: Wiki Commons
…so what is it?
Low atmospheric pressure allows the sea’s surface to bulge upwards in what is called a ‘storm surge’. If strong persistent onshore winds occur, these increase the height of the surge and generate waves that can damage the coastline.
Surges can occur at any point on the tidal cycle; at low tide they rarely cause flooding but at high tide the resulting flooding can be significant.
If there is a very large sea surge in the North Sea, with tides, gale force winds and potentially heavy rainfall, many coastal regions and tidal reaches of rivers could be affected, from South Yorkshire down the coast as far as Kent. Many coastal and estuary defences would be overtopped or breached, and drains would back up. Inundation from these breaches would be rapid and dynamic, with minimal warning and for some people, no time to evacuate.
- Risk to life
- Damage to property, businesses and agricultural land
- Risk to life of livestock
- Pollution and contamination of local environments
- Long term damage to tourism, business, and agriculture
- Damage to national critical infrastructure
- Disruption to utilities
- Widespread structural damage
- Flooding of properties for up to 14 days
- Evacuation of residents
- Short, medium, and long term loss of accommodation for those whose homes or businesses are flooded
- Unrecoverable damage to businesses
Lincolnshire’s coastline is a major attraction for many UK holiday-makers, and is also a popular area for retirement. There are approximately 24,000 static caravans along the coast across 300 caravan sites, as well as other homes and businesses that support the coastal tourist industry.
Of these static caravans, approximately 9,000 are occupied for the majority of the year. The coast is a popular place for retirement and residents are less likely to have local family support and therefore can be more reliant on social care.
Lincolnshire also contributes a massive 20% of the UK’s food supplies through farming and agriculture. The salt contamination of agricultural land would have a significant impact on UK food supplies and invariably the prices paid by consumers.
Lastly, Lincolnshire’s coastline plays host to some of the North Sea gas and oil infrastructure. Flood damage to these sites could have significant economic impacts on the UK.
Much has been done to protect the Lincolnshire coastline since the floods of 1953, particularly in the construction of flood defences. However, sea levels are rising, and because of the national and local impacts of a serious flood event, the risk is something which must be taken seriously.
What we do as an LRF…
- Identification of the places and people who are at risk
- Production of multi-agency plans to evacuate those communities who are at risk
- Strategic planning to protect the areas at risk
- Development of ways and means of alerting the public as early as possible when there is a significant flood risk
What you can do to help us…
Name: Wainfleet Flooding
On the morning of the 11th June the Environment Agency issued flood alerts for the area. On the same day, a member of public raised the alert concerning a breach of the River Steeping in Wainfleet. The 11th June 2019 ranked as the highest 24- hour rainfall period for Wainfleet on record with a total of 75.6mm
The EP Team in Lincolnshire attended Hazard Assessment calls, and the LRF held precautionary Strategic meetings the next day to prepare for the worst. By the end of the 12th the County Emergency Centre [CEC] had been activated and staffed.
LRF responders were then busy mapping and pumping the affected areas, using drones to see the scene, planning extra support through the military, setting up rest centres, and going door-to-door to help people out. Media representatives were used to spread the word about the risks of other breaches, and to advise people not to return to flooded areas.
Over 1000 people were initially evacuated from their homes, and during the incident a further 290 homes were evacuated as a precaution.
Photo Credit: Case: Flick Commons: 1