Flood testing day in West Norfolk

environment agency hunstanton beach tent ANL-140813-154937001
environment agency hunstanton beach tent ANL-140813-154937001
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The Environment Agency was out practising its emergency response to high tides in Lynn on Wednesday to ensure staff are familiar with flood alerts.

Forecasting teams from the Environment Agency monitored weather forecasts ahead of this week’s predicted high tides to assess the possibility of a surge tide.

Fortunately, despite the tail end of Hurricane Bertha hitting earlier this week, the weather conditions have been favourable and the spring tides did not present a real risk.

Alan Daniels, Environment Agency operations team leader for Lynn, said: “Having seen the forecast for the morning’s tide yesterday and despite this now coming in under the predicted level and our normal trigger level for response on the ground, we decided to take the opportunity to exercise our staff.

“The exercise went well. While most people were sleeping we opened our Lynn incident room at 2.50 to oversee the activity.

“Our teams were in town by 5.50 closing all flood gates, where access was non essential, ahead of high water which was expected at 8.48.

“Our coastal patrol did have to wake five sleeping teenagers who were camping on the beach at Hunstanton – rather us wake them at 6am than the waves a few hours later.

“The boys were all happy to vacate, once we’d explained the situation and advised them that future camping excursions would be more successful if they had a better understanding of the local tides.”

This week’s tides are known as spring tides. A spring tide occurs around the new and full moon when the gravitational pull of the moon is stronger.

If a spring tide is accompanied by low pressure and strong winds a surge can be created; low pressure sucks the surface of the water up and causes a tide to come in higher.

Lynn’s flood defences were severely tested on December 5 when these conditions last occurred causing the East Coast Tidal Surge. Kings Lynn experienced its highest sea levels in recent history exceeding both 1953 and 1978 levels.