The power of the sea

We live a few hundred yards from the sea, and although our village has been badly flooded in the past, most recently in 1981, there has been investment in a variety of sea defences and flood relief measures put into place. Past floods have been caused by a huge amount of water coming off the local Mendip Hills, either from rain or from heavy snow melting, high tides, on-shore wind, or a combination of these factors. There are sand dunes all along the coast north of us which would absorb a lot of tidal flooding, there are meadows and open land which can be flooded to the south of us, there are big flood gates which can be locked, a sluice which can be opened, and various other walls and humps in the road to slow the incoming tide.

Tonight we received a flood warning from our local co-ordinator, not that we would get flooded, but there was a risk that our village might be affected by the high tide tonight and the onshore wind (not to mention the sodden fields and meadows all about which could not absorb any more water) We had a little discussion about what would be affected in our house if the worst happened, although we doubted that where we live would have a problem, the drum kit which is probably the most expensive item at ground level was moved, and we talked about what else we would shift if necessary.We knew that if there was an immediate risk we would get a telephone warning.

High tide was just after eight this evening, so we walked down the road and went down to the beach. As soon as we stepped out of the door we could hear the waves and as we approached the noise became louder. The road to the beach runs between the golf course and the walls of what used to be a farm, and there is a big rise in the road at the entrance to the beach and then it drops down, over another rise and onto the sand. We stood on the top in the dark beside a local authority vehicle which was obviously monitoring the situation, and we could see that we had just missed the high tide because there was seaweed all across the road, but the sea still lashed over the bump. We looked across the farm walls to the other side of the field, and even in the dark we could see the enormous waves breaking over the top of the wall, going up about twenty feet in the air. It was very dramatic, but we were quite safe.

There is another high tide tomorrow morning, but the wind will be less, however, we might get up and go down to see what we can see, cameras at the ready!

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