Just when I was consoling myself that we in Norfolk are fortunate to have escaped the climate-driven catastrophes that seem to be striking all over the world these days, comes a report that we might be hit by a tsunami caused by an asteroid crashing into the North Sea.
The fact that it could happen sometime in the next 85 years and the odds are predicted at 10,000 to one is not much consolation. The chances of winning the National Lottery are around 14,000,000 to one, yet there seem to have been one or two winners in West Norfolk over the last 15-20 years.
Perhaps there is a danger of us becoming a bit paranoid about potential natural disasters, given the number of TV programmes outlining all the nightmare scenarios lurking just round the corner. Remember the programme about the volcano beneath Yellowstone Park which when – not IF, but WHEN – it erupts will clobber the best part of North America... not to mention the knock-on effect on Europe? It may not happen for a thousand years, but on the other hand the clock is already ticking.
Then there have been the documentaries on the possibility of tsunamis in the Atlantic, caused by a volcano in the Azores erupting sideways and sliding into the ocean, but at least I felt that if this happened, there would be a lot more danger to the West of England, rather than to East Anglia. Watch out, Poldark!
But the thought of a tsunami in the North Sea is rather unsettling, although the actual point of impact by the asteroid would be crucial to which areas suffered the most damage. After all, there must be a potential corridor for such an event. If, for instance, it hit the coast of East Norfolk, any tsunami would presumably be directed outwards towards the coasts of Denmark, Holland or even Norway.
And while it would do considerable damage to the eastern side of the county – not a happy thought for Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft or even Norwich – we in the west of the county might escape the worst effects.
Given all the economic misfortunes that have befallen Great Yarmouth down the years, from the decline of the fishing industry followed by the demise of the British seaside holiday, some might say it would be just their luck to be on the wrong end of such a cataclysmic event.
Given Norfolk County Council’s bias towards directing major spending over the years to the east of the county rather than to the west, there has been a bit of an inclination for us in and around Lynn to feel that we have been rather unfortunate.
However, given this gloomy prediction about the future, I’m not so sure who is in the better place. Perhaps only time will tell...