The fifth named storm of the winter 2017/18 storm season will be remembered chiefly for its wind power. Eleanor swept quickly across Ireland and the UK through the night of the night of the 2nd and morning of the 3rd of January. Weather stations recorded gusts of wind that were reaching 100mph. Strong winds create big waves. Coastal communities in the southern British Isles were battered and the Environment Agency issued over 200 flood alerts and warnings.
Storm Front Coming
The high winds of a storm like Eleanor can cause seawater to pile up against the coast. The low-pressure system means that sea levels are higher anyway and an onshore wind literally blows water towards the coast. This is what is known as a storm surge. The powerful waves can overtop or even destroy the dunes and sea walls that normally hold back the sea – resulting in the flooding of coastal communities.
North Cornwall Coast
The powerful surge generated by Storm Eleanor destroyed a forty-foot section of the harbour wall at Portreath on the north Cornwall coast. Despite the storm moving off to the east as the day progressed, flood warnings remained in place as the next high tide was due. High tide will further increase sea levels whipped up by the low pressure and storm surge.
Southern Norfolk Broads
High tide doesn’t just affect the coast. Take the county of Norfolk where our factory is located: one of its major rivers, the River Yare that runs through Norwich and out to Great Yarmouth on the coast, is a tidal river. The swell travels slowly upriver – with high water in Norwich occurring about 4 hours after high water in Yarmouth. The river has been running high anyway after a lot of rainfall in Norfolk. Following Eleanor, flood alerts for certain sections of the river were issued by the Environment Agency for the subsequent high tides.