The day the sea came to visit
Following on from last month’s battle with nature and the strong winds, over the last couple of days, nature showed a different hand. Storm-force winds in Scotland and the north, combined with unusually low pressure, caused a tidal surge to form that had the potential to be greater than the devastating surge of 1953. The Environment Agency had even issued warnings for our area that reminded us of our island origins!
To be honest, I hadn’t really expected it to impact our area too much as we usually miss out on the worst down here – winds blow themselves out, tides recede before they reach us and snow gets too warm to be too disruptive.
However, I was wrong and was stunned to see photos filling my Twitter timeline at 1am of water encroaching the roads that run towards Broadstairs beach, while the sea levels had risen to reach the harbour arm in Margate and was giving the new sea defence a good test of its ability.
When someone shared a photo of a beach hut floating past, I knew I had to get down to see this for myself. Unfortunately, with two small children and work/school in the morning, going then and there wasn’t practical or sensible. Instead, we got ready early on Friday morning and headed down to the beach to view the aftermath before it was cleared away.
And what we found was incredible.
Beach huts had been tossed around like toys, turned over, broken into pieces and washed across the lengths of the beach until they found a wall or another hut to break their travels.
A line of wet sand marked the tide’s height at its worst, graffiti on the walls of the cliff walls, and jetty. The Great Wall of Viking Bay (also known as the worm) had disappeared, no match for the water’s might.
One man stood atop his overturned beach hut, close to tears at the hopelessness of it all, unsure how to proceed with his rescue mission.
At this point, the sea lapped the shore and was calm as a millpond, but there was more to come with the next high tide due just hours later with a repeat of the surge forecast.
At lunchtime, we headed back down to the seafront to watch as high tide approached, wondering if the surge could do further damage to the already weakened area.
This time, the tide did not reach in as far or as high and we, along with many others, were able to stand close to the sea wall to watch as the waves crashed over it, spraying those close enough with water and flooding the car park and jetty, but not the roads this time.
We drove around the bays, watching surfers on Joss Bay enjoying the swell, and marvelling at the anger of the sea as we reached Margate.
It wasn’t as dramatic as it had been overnight, but was still a sight to see and I’m glad we made the effort to watch it. I truly feel for all those affected and have yet again been humbled by the force of nature.
Linking up to Country Kids with Coombe Mill as we got outside and made the most of nature’s spectacle. Click the badge below to see what others have been up to.