The Great Storm Surge of 1953


The North Sea Flood of 1953 was caused by a deep low-pressure system that moved rapidly across the North Sea causing strong northwesterly gales (the most dangerous winds for generating high waves and sea levels). The system, although not especially deep, moved close to land giving sustained winds. The night of the 31st January was a high spring tide, exacerbating the effects of the storm surge. 

 

Sea levels off eastern England were raised by more than two metres with fatal consequences. Three hundred and seven people lost their lives down the coast of eastern England.

Sea defences from Yorkshire to the Thames Estuary were given a pounding and gave way under the onslaught. Waves were so large that they overtopped sea defences; the water that flooded in undermining sea-wall foundations until they collapsed.

Scarborough’s sea defences stood up to the onslaught but suffered extensive damage, as shown in these engineers photos taken  at the time:

Looking towards the northern end of Royal Albert Drive

Looking towards the northern end of Royal Albert Drive

Damaged parapet along the Spa Approach Road

Damaged parapet along the Spa Approach Road

Section removed at the South Bay Bathing Pool

Section removed at the South Bay Bathing Pool

Steps near South Bay Pool

Steps near South Bay Pool

Rubble at Peasholm Gap

Rubble at Peasholm Gap

Royal Albert Drive

Royal Albert Drive

For more information and an explanation of what has changed since the 50’s follow this link:http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/in-depth/1953-east-coast-flood

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