Yet more storms

Damage to the railway line at Dawlish A section of rail track dangles over the sea after the wall collapsed at Dawlish

Damage to the railway line at Dawlish
A section of rail track dangles over the sea after the wall collapsed at Dawlish

waves continue to pound the Dawlish seafront

waves continue to pound the Dawlish seafront

Dawlish map of railway line

Dawlish map of railway line

high winds and stormy seas have led to further damage to the Grade I listed West Pier in Brighton

high winds and stormy seas have led to further damage to the Grade I listed West Pier in Brighton

It started at the beginning of December, 5 December 2013, exactly two months ago, with a tidal surge in the North Sea, the East Coast was battered, cliffs collapsed, homes toppled into the sea, parts of the East Coast were flooded.

The storms have been relentless ever since, wave after wave, a lull of a few days, then another storm hits.

January saw in the South of England, the heaviest rainfall in over a century.

The Somerset Levels have been flooded for weeks, 28 square miles under water. Areas surrounding The Thames and The Severn flooded, the River Wey flooded Guildford, the sea front at Aberystwyth destroyed.

At the weekend, heavy rain Friday afternoon and evening, overnight, very heavy torrential rain. Saturday, the River Wey at Farnham had overflowed its banks, running very high and fast, Bishop’s Meadow flooded.

Tuesday evening, heavy rain, overnight, a bad storm, more heavy rain, again during the day today, a slight lull during the afternoon, the storm then returns for the evening. More storms and heavy rain forecast for the weekend.

Wales, the South West and South Coast has taken another hammering.

In Pembrokeshire, sand dunes have been re-sculptured into cliffs.

In Cornwall, much of the sea defences destroyed.

A railway line runs through Devon, through to Cornwall, all the way down to Penzance. In Devon, it runs along a sea wall, a gap in the cliffs, and a glimpse of Dawlish. Not any more, the sea wall at Dawlish has been destroyed, the railway lines left hanging in mid air.

The end of the derelict West Pier in Brighton has been spilt in two.

David Cameron has said he will do what it takes. Er, did he not make that very statement at the beginning of the year?

The hypocrisy of David Cameron is staggering. Wringing of hands at the floods and yet gung-ho on fracking. Is he incapable of holding two ideas in his head simultaneously?

If David Cameron is serous, then he should show he is serious by firing Owen Paterson.

He must also stop talking nonsense about dredging the rivers that run through the Somerset Levels. Had they been dredged, it would not have made a jot of difference.

Similarly, the high capacity pumps installed in the Somerset Levels are window dressing, the equivalent of trying to bail out the Titanic with a tea strainer.

A couple of days ago, the chairman of the Environment Agency said we have a choice, towns or countryside, we have not the money to protect both. He was only partly correct, but it is not a matter of money. The water has to go somewhere.

Rivers and streams are meant to meander, flood plains to flood. Dredging, canalising rivers and streams, simply makes matters worse for those downstream.

The Somerset Levels have to be allowed to flood. Those who say something should be done, are like King Canute commanding the tide not to come in.

Historia Anglorum (ed D E Greenway):

Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty and worthless and there is no King worthy of the name save Him by whose will heaven and earth and sea obey eternal laws.

Though what Canute was actually demonstrating was arrogance and humility. Only those who are arrogant think they are all powerful, others recognise in their humility that they do not have the power to command Nature.

A farmer last week said when it rains in the hills, a few hours later, the water levels rise in the Somerset Levels. His comments, point to if not a solution, at least towards mitigation, address the water coming off the hills, retain water upstream.

David Cameron called for emergency action. Yes, rebuild sea defences, but also address the long term.

We have to deal with the water catchment, we have to re-afforest the hills, we have to rewild, release wolves and beavers and lynx.

Records are available for the River Wye since 1936. Over a period of seventy years, rainfall was fairly constant, the incidence of flooding has tripled. Up until the late 1990s, trees that had fallen into the streams were cleared. There is now a policy of Let Sleeping Logs Lie. Sheep grazing the hills, compact the soil, what little soil there is, denude the vegetation. The net result is the heavy rain dumped on the hills, rushes straight downstream.

The Severn drains the same hills. We have seen the vast square miles flooded by the Severn.

The area above Pickering was drained. Pickering flooded. Trees are now being deliberately felled into the streams.

Bishop’s Meadow, 23 acres of unspoilt meadow alongside the River Wey in Farnham would have been built upon had local people not bought it. On Saturday, it was one huge lake.

We have to allow coastal marshes and estuaries and mudflats to flood.

We have to stop corrupt local councils granting planning consent to greedy developers to build on flood plains.

We are seeing what we were told were once in a lifetime, extreme weather events, occurring every year.

Across the world we are seeing extreme weather events, Global Weirding, as Climate Chaos and Global Warming kicks in.

A succession of low pressure systems are being dragged across the Atlantic by the Jet Stream. These are expected to continue throughout February. And even if the rainfall is not so heavy, there will still be widespread flooding, as any rain that falls, flows straight off the land due to the ground being saturated from two months of heavy rain.

flood alerts

flood alerts

Republished on Medium, with additional notes and images.

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Yet more storms”

  1. Jenny Says:

    You talk total utter sense 🙂

    I have just come across your blog while looking for photos of state of the train line at Dawlish. Glad I read it instead of just looking at the photos!

  2. keithpp Says:

    Thank you Jenny for kind comments.

    I wish the same could be said for our politicians. Yesterday (Wednesday), we had the blame game, with all sides spouting rubbish. Then they wonder why people do not vote.

    As you like, please pass to your friends.

    All we can do is try to educate people, and point them in the right direction.

  3. keithpp Says:

    Republished on Medium, with more photos and additional notes.

    View at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: