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Storms

High winds, high tides and low pressure all combine to create the perfect storm

High tides battered the Fylde Coast on 3 January 2014

The Fylde Coast was battered by winds and exceptionally high tides to start a new year.

High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
Photo from Mel Jones Photography

High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
Photo from Mel Jones Photography

For the second time in only a few weeks, the coastline from Fleetwood to Lytham was flooded when spring tides were driven to shore by high winds on Friday 3rd January 2014.

High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
Photo from Mel Jones Photography

High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
High tide and flooding on Blackpool Promenade
Photo from Mel Jones Photography

Flood Warnings and Alerts were in force for the coastline from Fleetwood to Lytham throughout the day. With high tide at lunch time (12.20pm) the waves were already starting to splash over the sea wall at northern Cleveleys by 11am.

Waves coming over on Cleveleys promenade and flooding
Waves coming over on Cleveleys promenade and flooding

By noon, the waves at Cleveleys were overtopping onto the promenade and at high tide many of them were reaching the height of the lamp posts on North Promenade.

Waves coming over on Cleveleys promenade and flooding
Waves coming over on Cleveleys promenade and flooding

Waves coming over on Cleveleys promenade and flooding
Waves coming over on Cleveleys promenade and flooding

Almost an hour after high tide, the waves were still coming over the wall at Cleveleys. Take a look at this video!

At Lytham the sea water reached the foot of the windmill on the Green, and in central Blackpool the promenade was under water for the second time in only a few weeks.

Fortunately this storm wasn't as serious a weather event as the previous one on 5 December. With less wind behind it and a slightly lower tide, there was less damage - although still quite a lot of sand, stones and debris to clear away.

The next high tide at midnight brought a second overtopping in the same day.


One in 200 Year Storm - 5 December 2013

Storm in Cleveleys 5 December 2013

On 5 December 2013, the Fylde Coast experienced a one in 200 year storm event, with high winds, a high tide and low pressure combining to create mayhem!


Weather Event on 2 November 2013

It's fair to say that the Fylde Coast gets more than its fair share of batterings...

On the west side of the UK with little to protect it except Ireland, the Fylde is often subjected to heavy storms and rough seas as it feels the force of the prevailing westerly weather - which is the direction on the weather fronts on the UK for the majority of the time.

At the end of October 2013, storms and strong winds were forecast for the south west, and were expected to reach the Fylde. Fortunately, we escaped with what for us was normal windy weather.

Fast forward a week to 2/3 November and the coast certainly got ravaged at high tide on Saturday night.

Saturday 2 November 2013....

Saturday morning woke to a still and cold day - there was hardly a breath of wind and what felt like a creeping cold mist. By late morning there was a gale blowing, then by lunch time it was throwing it down with the kind of rain you only get at the coast - the type that comes at you with force like someone is throwing water out of a bucket!

Storm over Irish Sea
Storm over Irish Sea

Mid afternoon the sky was black over the sea, with columns of rain falling over the waves. Then it started thundering and lightening. As the waves rolled to shore, with them came waves of really heavy rain - oddly intersperced with bits of sunshine as the weather system blew in from the south west.

Stormy sky over the sea

Flood Alert

At tea time the phone rang. It was the automated Flood Alert issues by the Environment Agency, with a weather warning for high tide at 10pm on Saturday 2 November. It's not the first time that's happened, and it is quite scary!

A Flood Alert means that flooding is possible and you should be prepared. In this instance, the whole coast from Fleetwood to Blackpool was put on Flood Alert.

A Flood Warning is the next step up, and means that flooding is expected. Immediate action is required. Promenades and adjacent roads (Princess Parade, A584, New South Promenade) and car parks, piers and the swimming pool/leisure centre were on Flood Warning.

The highest level is Severe Flood Warning, which means danger to life. Thankfully, there were none of them this weekend in the north west.

If you are in a flood risk area you can register to receive flood alerts here.

Foam flying

By 9pm the foam was flying. If you've never seen the foam it's quite a sight. It's caused by decaying algae in the water and in the right conditions it whips up into a sandy froth which blows off the top of the waves and wobbles to shore - and it can reach several feet in depth before collapsing to leave a dry sandy residue that is awful to wash away from where it stuck.

More about Cleveleys Foam here

At high tide at 10pm, the foam had billowed over the sea wall onto the promenade, and was easily 4 or 5 feet deep, making the sea front at Cleveleys impassable.

Foam on Cleveleys seafront
Foam on Cleveleys seafront

Foam on Cleveleys seafront
Foam on Cleveleys promenade

There were reports that on Princes Way, the promenade leading from Cleveleys to Anchorsholme, that the waves were nearly as high as the lamp posts. It's an area which suffers from overtopping even in a moderate wind, and is the stretch of sea defences which are being rebuilt, with works due to start anytime soon.

It's also where the Riverdance ferry ran aground almost six years ago - after a similar storm.

Meanwhile, Blackpool Promenade suffered from the gales and there were reports that North Pier was evacuated at 9pm. The Illuminations were also turned off earlier than planned, prompting the department to issue an apology to anyone who had their Lights show cut short:

"Some of you may be aware we had to switch the Illuminations off early on
Saturday night, this was on police advice and was due to flooding experienced on
South shore in extremely inclement weather. We took the decision based on public safety considerations so please accept our sincerest apologies if in any way
this adversely affected your visit to the show and we hope if so you will indeed
return again soon. This the first time in many years it has been necessary to
take such action"

On Sunday morning 3rd November there was a slight repeat performance as the winds continued, although they had lost much of the ferocity of the night before. Some foam came over the sea wall at high tide at 10.30am, but not of the same epic proportions!

Waves coming over on Cleveleys promenade and floodingWhen waves are this high - keep away and keep safe.

Overtopping at Anchorsholme Princes WayOvertopping at Anchorsholme Princes Way

Obviously, it's dangerous to be near to the sea when it's as wild and rough as it was last night, and this is how you get pulled in and drown.

These photos have been taken at previous, less rough high tides, but give you some idea of what happens in a coastal storm. But imagine it being worse!

Overtopping at Anchorsholme Princes WayOvertopping at Anchorsholme Princes Way

Overtopping at Anchorsholme Princes WayOvertopping at Anchorsholme Princes Way

Overtopping on Cleveleys promenadeOvertopping on Cleveleys promenade

 
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