Flood Ark

River Run: How Tidal Surges Affect Riverbank Properties

03/10/2018 Flood Resilience, United Kingdom riverside properties protected by Flood Ark barriers

The seas that surround our island nation rise and fall twice a day – in keeping with the gravitational pull of the moon. These tides affect our coastal communities, but their effects are also felt inland as many British rivers are tidal. The maximum height of a tide can be given an extra pull when the sun is in alignment with the moon, resulting in the spring and neap tides. When high tide coincides with a low-pressure system, the resulting tidal surge can cause flooding upriver.

Tidal Observations

Tides are a phenomenon that have been documented since ancient times. Many communities relied on fishing and had an intuitive understanding of tides. The connection between the moon and the tide was also observed. Many centuries passed between humanity’s earliest records of tides by the Babylonian astronomer Seleucus of Seleucia and the gravitational explanation of tides published in the Principia Mathematica by Sir Isaac Newton.

How Tides are Caused

The moon’s gravity pulls a bulge of water towards it. As the earth rotates, so the bulge follows the moon around. This accounts for one of the daily tides. The second tide has a slightly less intuitive explanation, but is still caused by the effects of the moon’s gravitational pull. The gravitational attraction is much weaker on the far side of the planet from the moon: meaning that the water forms a bulge here, too, but this time pointing away from the moon. 

Riverbank Properties

Riverbank properties are some of the most sought after in the UK. However, owners must be careful that the dream of running water at the bottom of the garden does not turn into the nightmare of water running through the house. As we have seen, the effects of a high tide, especially when combined with a storm surge, can have severe effects inland along our rivers. Householders with riverside properties are wise to install precautions against flooding.

At Flood Ark, we manufacture and install barriers that provide proven property level protection. If you are interested in our products or would like to organise a FREE survey of your home or business, call us on +44 (0) 1603 879977. Alternatively, you can email info@floodark.com.

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