Surgewatch - UK Coastal Flood Events

Storms cause floods, which can be devasting with long-lasting and diverse consequences. On the coast, floods arise as a result of high sea levels. The UK has historically suffered major coastal flooding events including the 1607 flood, which is estimated to have killed more than 2,000 people around the coasts of the Bristol Channel; and the storm of 1953 in which 307 people were killed and 24,000 people fled their homes. The latter storm was important in identifying a need to better understanding coastal flooding, leading to the development of storm surge forecasting and the building of the Thames Barrier in London. However, the continued threat of serious coastal flooding was apparent during winter of 2013–2014 when the UK experienced a series of significant coastal flooding events, including a major North Sea flood. In order to better understand coastal flooding we have compiled a database of UK coastal flood events and built a website called ‘SurgeWatch’. In this web-site we capture information about storms, the highest sea levels they produce and the consequences to people, in a way that is easily assessable, coastal engineers and managers, academics and the wider public.



Image - Dawlish seawall and railway line being destroyed by a storm in February 2014 (Source:



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