The news that the UK’s Environment Agency and Met Office have issued warnings about a blast of windy arctic conditions that will sweep the country today and tomorrow (Friday), causing widespread severe flooding on the east coast is naturally causing alarm amongst those who might become affected.
Apparently, snow storms, gale force winds and tidal surges combined with seasonally high tides will cause devastating on almost the scale of the famous 1953 flooding of East Anglia, albeit that flood defences built since then – including the Thames, Deptford and Hull barriers – will mean that much of the affected area will be better protected than it was.
The Environmental Agency has issued a severe flood warning – the highest possible – to homes and businesses near The Quay in Sandwich, Kent. It also made plans to close the Thames Barrier last night and also to activate other defences at Colne in Essex and Hull.
Overall, 16 flood warnings and 52 flood alters have been issued.
These are obviously prudent measures, taken in an effort to contain and minimise the potential effects of the heavy weather we had been told was coming towards the end of this week. We can be glad that our ancestors had the foresight to put in place such plans and sea defences in order to avoid a repeat of the devastation of 1953 – and this was before the effects of climate change and global warming were even a glint in the scientists’ eyes.
I think it’s terribly important at times of national crisis, and indeed potential natural disaster, such as this to keep our collective morale raised as high as possible. It might be a touch fanciful to contemplate referring back to the spirit of the Blitz, particularly since so few of us these days who experienced it are alive to recall it, but this is the sort of thing that we Brits are instinctively good at.
You’ve got to look at the bright side.
That’s why, as a Londoner, I shall be standing outside my local estate agent’s office this morning as the clocks ticks around to 9.30am and opening time.
Gone are the days when, to seek out a bargain ‘getaway’ weekend seaside cottage, one practically needed a passport and a return first class railway ticket to the depths of Norfolk or Suffolk.
Given the way things seem to be going – not least the projections I’ve seen as to how far the North Sea will encroach over the next thirty years – there’s going to be every chance of picking up something perfectly serviceable for less than £250,000 on the east side of London, ready for an influx of seagulls, day-trippers, Kiss-Me-Quick hats and fish-and-chip meals served in newspapers.
Best of all, one could be there in less than threequarters of an hour by Tube, so it would be goodbye to the delights of East Anglian three-hour train journeys (not counting delays).
Rotherhithe here I come!