7th January 2014
SIDMOUTH: Town on flood alert after huge waves hit coast
Sidmouth was on high alert last week as torrential rain and strong winds battered the East Devon coastline, continuing the region’s stormy start to the new year.
Following a period of sustained bad weather over the festive season, severe flood warnings were issued by the Environment Agency on Thursday (January 2nd) with a high risk of coastal flooding predicted.
The public were advised to stay away from the coastline, particularly during high tides, after two deaths as a result of high seas were confirmed in North Devon and Cornwall.
Large waves continued to strike the shoreline at times of high tide over the weekend and residents were warned against leaving cars parked on the Esplanade after stones and pebbles were thrown up over the barriers by the waves.
Strong gusts and heavy rainfall throughout the week left standing water on many of Sidmouth’s roads, making conditions difficult for drivers. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service issued safety advice on Friday, warning motorists to take care on the roads and to avoid driving through floodwater.
The Met Office had yellow warnings for wind and rain in place on Friday (January 3rd) but coastal flood warnings were no longer in force by the afternoon. The Environment Agency reported that 12mm of rain fell overnight on Friday causing the River Sid and River Otter to rise. A less severe flood alert for the area was issued on Saturday and remained in place over the weekend.
Last month East Devon District Council announced the start of a project to create a new Beach Management Plan for Sidmouth designed to strengthen the town’s coastal defences.
The council is looking to attract funding from a number of sources to help enhance Sidmouth’s sea and flood defences and to address the issue of coastal erosion which poses a threat to the town’s cliff-top properties.
PICTURE 1 The Sidmouth seafront felt the full force of the bad weather has huge waves crashed into the Esplanade on Friday and Saturday.
PICTURE 2: The Esplanade was covered with debris on Saturday morning after huge waves threw up stones and pebbles from the beach.
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