The day the sea came to visit

The day the sea came to visit

Isle of Thanet flooding
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.

Smashed beach huts

And what we found was incredible.

Beach huts smashed into walls

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.

Sand graffiti

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.

Sea force

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.

Calm after the stom

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.

Waves crashing against wall

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.

angry sea

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.

Viking Bay Tidal Surge

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.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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17 comments on “The day the sea came to visit
  1. Charly Dove says:

    We spend so much time talking about how wonderful nature is, we forget how destructive it can be too. It must have been awful to see the beautiful beach damaged like this. Such contrasting photographs with the calmness in the middle section. I hope its settled down now and those that are affected get help

  2. Wow, those photos are incredible. It’s unbelievable what nature can do sometimes. Feel very sorry for all those people who had their beach huts damaged.

    • It is heartbreaking for those affected, especially knowing the costs involved in having one there, but hopefully, they are fairly easily repaired/replaced unlike someone’s home.

  3. It’s quite incredible to see the force of nature close up. Hopefully it’s now all calm for the winter?

  4. sarah says:

    wow! that is incredible isnt it. Amazing force of nature!

  5. Great photos, even if rather sad. The power of the sea is something to be respected isn’t it.

  6. Such amazing photos. It can be so beautiful, yet so destructive. Very powerful.

    • I do love a stormy sea over a calm one, unless I’m out on it of course, but I have utmost respect for it, and know that even experienced and strong swimmers should never take it for granted. The way it smashed up the beach huts just demonstrates its power.

  7. Notmyyearoff says:

    It looks like it came it so strong and high. I hope the rescue mission goes well and people haven’t lost too much 🙁 amazing shots. Must have been a sight to see!

    • It did come much further in than anyone anticipated it seems, although the properties on the road had prepared with sandbags which appears to have been a sensible precaution. The community came together over the weekend to help with the clear up and sound as though they’ve done a great job!

  8. Nature is wonderful and beautiful but can also be brutal and devastating. How awful for all those affected, but rather buidings and huts damaged/destroyed then people’s lives taken. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

    • My thoughts exactly, Fiona. Very upsetting to lose property, but I don’t believe anyone lost their life or was even injured locally which is a thankful result considering the dangers. It was fun to have an excuse for a beach walk before school for a change – mornings are always such a rush it had to be something rare to get us all ready in time!

  9. You have to show nature and the sea so much respect. It is so powerful! Beautiful yet scary all at the same time!

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