Europe: Very dangerous weather – ESTOFEX Storm Forecast: LEVEL 3! for parts of POLAND and W BELARUS Damaging wind gusts, large and very hail, excessive precipitation and SIGNIFICANT TORNADO EVENT. – Published 190715 1216z

Storm Forecast

Storm Forecast
Valid: Sun 19 Jul 2015 06:00 to Mon 20 Jul 2015 06:00 UTC
Issued: Sun 19 Jul 2015 00:01
Forecaster: TASZAREK

A level 3 was issued for parts of Poland and W Belarus mainly for the damaging wind gusts, large and very hail, excessive precipitation and significant tornado event.

A level 2 was issued for parts of Germany, Poland, Belarus, NW Ukraine and N Czech Republic mainly for the severe wind gusts, large hail, tornadoes and excessive precipitation.

A level 1 was issued for parts of S Finland and parts of Russia mainly for the large hail and severe wind gusts.

A level 1 was issued for parts of UK, Netherlands, S Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, N Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, W Hungary, Belarus and NW Ukraine mainly for the large hail, severe wind gusts and excessive precipitation.

A level 1 was issued for NE Spain mainly for the large hail and excessive precipitation.


Most of the Central, SW, S and SE Europe is covered with highly unstable warm and moist tropical air mass with dew points up to 20C. A ridge extending from Azores up to Iberian Peninsula inhibits convection in this region. Strong capping inversions are also present in the Apennine and most of the Balkan Peninsula. Weakening high is places over Black Sea while the numerous troughs are located over British Isles, Scandinavia and N Russia. Jet streak separating polar and tropical air mass is stretching from the N Atlantic trough England, N Germany and Poland up to Russia. Within this jet, a short-wave with thermal low is predicted to provide a good overlap of instability, moisture, lift and wind shear over parts of Germany, Poland and Belarus.


…Germany, Poland, Belarus, NW Ukraine…

Particularly severe weather is expected in the afternoon hours within the shortwave that will pass these countries in the forecast period and provide the great source of lifting mechanism. An overlap of SB CAPE exceeding 1000-2000 J/kg and DLS over 20-25 m/s in the large area extending from central Germany up to Poland is expected to produce widespread severe weather. Around noon, convection should start over Germany and most likely in the form of the supercell thunderstorms produce damaging wind gusts and large to very large hail. An increased 0-1km SRH over 100 m2/s2 and LLS exceeding 10 m/s cannot rule out tornado occurrence within these cells. In the afternoon hours CI should also take place in W Poland. Since these cells will form in the highly unstable (1500-2000 J/kg) and strongly sheared environment (DLS ~ 25 m/s, MLS ~ 20 m/s, LLS ~ 15 m/s, 0-3km SRH up to 300 m2/s2) with the support of the QG lift, an organized squall line is likely to form. It is likely that such a squall line will contain bow echos and the wind gusts within these may exceed 33 m/s. The transformation into derecho cannot be ruled out. Level 3 denote the area where according to the current understanding and NWP data the movement of this line is the most probable. However, models are not consistent with the direction of the MCS movement, some of them predicts propagation of the squall line to the Belarus, while some of them shifts the system more to the warm air mass. It is possible that an early-hours convection that will pass through N Poland may provide conditions more conducive for MCS turning more to the S. Due to these uncertainties, both scenarios are partially included in the level 3 area. Although the main threat are damaging wind gusts, conditions in the late afternoon hours (when the relative humidity will drop and thus the LCL) will be conducive for tornadoes, especially in the E Poland. An impressive overlap of 0-1km SRH ~ 400 m2/s2 with LLS ~ 12.5 m/s and CAPE ~ 1000 J/kg may result in a significant tornado event if isolated or embedded supercells will be present. These may be possible in the southern flank of the squall line. Within these storms very large hail is also possible. It is predicted that the MCS will enter Belarus and parts of Ukraine in the late evening hours and weaken, but still will be capable of producing severe wind gusts. If derecho will form, the system may be capable of producing damaging wind gusts also in the late evening hours, therefore level 3 is also extended to the parts of Belarus further east. Extreme values of PW (40-45 mm) may also result in a large precipitation amounts on the track of the MCS.

…parts of UK, Denmark, Netherlands, N Germany, Baltic Sea…

Although models predicts very large DLS over these areas (25-30 m/s) they are not as consistent with thermodynamic instability. Thunderstorms that will form within the short-wave may become supercells and create threat for the large hail and severe wind gusts. However, due to limited thermodynamic instability, limited boundary layers moisture content and rather low-topped convection, such a threat deserves only level 1.

…Germany, Switzerland, N Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, W Hungary, Belarus and NW Ukraine…

Locally enhanced DLS up to 15 m/s with CAPE up to 2000-2500 J/kg and rich boundary layer’s moisture (mixing ratio up to 12-13 g/kg) create threat for multicell and supercell thunderstorms where severe wind gusts and large hail are likely. DMC is forecast to start around noon and the storms should weaken in the late evening hours. In the areas where the storm motion is predicted to be very low (DLS below 10 m/s) excessive precipitation and local flash flooding cannot be ruled out, especially in the NW parts of the Italy.

…S Finland, parts of Russia…

Favorable overlap of DLS around 20 m/s and CAPE up to 400-600 J/kg create threat for supercell thunderstorms and thus severe wind gusts and large hail. Uncertainty related to CI, low thermodynamic instability, limited boundary layer’s moisture content and narrow zone where the CAPE overlaps with the favorable shear makes the threat marginal. The highest threat for the occurrence of severe weather falls on the early afternoon hours.

…NE Spain…

Low-level inflow of impressive rich boundary layer’s moisture content (mixing ratios up to 16-18 g/kg) overlapping with steep lapse rates (~ 7 C/km) locally will enhance CAPE values to 2000-2500 J/kg. If thunderstorms will be able to get through the cap, they may be capable of producing large hail. Since the storm motion in this area is predicted to be very low, given the high moisture content excessive precipitation cannot be ruled out.


See also >>>>

Mesoscale Discussion

Mesoscale Discussion
Valid: Sun 19 Jul 2015 11:00 to Sun 19 Jul 2015 14:00 UTC
Issued: Sun 19 Jul 2015 11:51

At 11 UTC a warm front was located along a line from near Leipzig to Poznan to Warsaw. An MCS / area of convective rain over NE Germany has created an outflow boundary that stretches from Berlin to Leipzig.

Along the warm front distinct surface convergence is taking place and low-level humidity is rather high with 18-21 C observed dew points. With 26-30 C surface temperatures, around 1000 – 1500 J/kg of MLCAPE should already be in place.

The Bayreuth, Lindenberg and Doksany profilers and Poznan radar confirm that 20-25 m/s WSW winds are in place at 3-4 km AGL, implying that strong to very strong wind shear is present.

Storms, probably elevated have formed in the Leipzig area and further south across the Czech Republic. It is expected that these storms will move eastward and become surface based. It is possible that storms will rather rapidly develop into a squall-line and that the wind risk will increase rather quickly.

In addition, more storms may form further to the east along the warm front after 13 UTC. Any isolated storms that manage to form will quickly turn into powerful supercells with a risk of large hail and severe wind gusts.

The high (about 300 m2/s2) SREH and anticipated strengthening low-level shear that is in place along and slightly to the north of the warm front suggests that tornadoes cannot be ruled out. However, in most places, the LCL height is rather high for tornadoes with T/Td spreads around 10 C, limiting this risk. An exception is a small area along the warm front where prior rainfall occurrs before the arrival of storms, cooling and moistening the boundary layer.


Europe: ESTOFEX Storm Forecast: Level 2 for NW France, S Germany, Czechia, N Switzerland and N Austria mainly for severe convective wind gusts and tornadoes. Valid until 281013 06:00 UTC – 271013 1000z

Storm Forecast



Storm Forecast
Valid: Sun 27 Oct 2013 06:00 to Mon 28 Oct 2013 06:00 UTC
Issued: Sun 27 Oct 2013 05:14
Forecaster: VAN DER VELDE

A level 2 was issued for northeastern France, southern Germany, Czechia, northern Switzerland and northern Austria mainly for severe convective wind gusts and tornadoes.

A level 1 was issued for parts of France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, as well as Ireland, mainly for severe convective wind gusts and tornadoes.

A level 1 was issued for western France and southern UK for severe convective gust and tornado chances after midnight.


A large depression centered west of Scotland has transported a broad plume of relatively warm low level air deep into Europe. A sharp shortwave trough dramatically visible in IPV fields is racing from western France to eastern Poland during the period. Together with a northwesterly jet axis left exit region, it forces rising air with steepening lapse rates between central France and the Netherlands in the morning, which shifts into Germany during the afternoon and Czechia/Poland in the evening. Thedynamic tropopause(PV)/jet axis intersection region moves just north of the Alps. There is a strong wind field with a corridor over southern Germany with >30 m/s winds in the lowest kilometers.
Late in the night, a side disturbance of the main low arrives in the English Channel region with signs of rapid cyclogenesis en-route to Denmark, producing gale conditions on Monday.



In the first 6 hours of the period, convection and conditions of strong low-level winds and shear 15-20 m/s are present. The jetstream passes over the southern half of Ireland. Expect some convective gusts greater than 25 m/s. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out as well.

…western France, southern UK…

This region will be affected by two disturbances in 24 hours. At 06Z, unstable air under the influence of the shortwave trough is present as well as 25 m/s mean winds in the low levels, and some 20 m/s 0-1 km shear. Mesoscale convective development is not yet expected to begin, but these conditions combined with low LCL heights can lead to tornadoes, aside from severe wind gusts.
After 00/03Z, the cold front of the second low comes in. It seems to become somewhat convectively active, likely as a forced convective line (there is little CAPE and EL at only -15), this time with 30-40 m/s mean winds in the low levels over NW France capable of producing damaging gusts at the ground. The front bends back over the southern UK with less strong wind field but enhanced shear and instability sufficient for a tornado or two. The 00Z GFS run predicts the low to take a much more northerly and faster course with more stable conditions than the 18Z run.

…northeastern France to southwestern Poland…

Synoptic and mesoscale lifting appears to increase in tyhe GFS model over northern France and enhance CAPE to about 200 J/kg. A linear PV intrusion is likely to shape the convection as a line, although WRF models suggest more cellular/short line segment modes instead. Indeed even in the GFS model there is a large region of deep convergence but no sharp line at the surface. The jet exit region affects most directly the zone immediately north of the Alps. In entire southern Germany more than 20 m/s of 0-1 km shear should exist, which aids tornadogenesis (with >250 m²/s² of 0-3 km SREH also predicted) and bow echoes with strong to very strong gusts during convective storms. The 00Z GFS run predicts the same timing as the 18Z run but with the PV intrusion displaced slightly to the north, as well as more positive rather than negative tilt.

Netherlands: Ex student of The British School in Voorschoten arrested after website threat of mass shooting; 22 schools closed in Lieden – 220413 1045z


Threatener Leiden arrested
Police have arrested a suspect of the serious threat of a school shooting. It would be a former student of The British School in Voorschoten. Report that sources around the school to De Telegraaf. Police have confirmed the message by now.
It would be a student who is expelled from school. Tracy Tichelaar, spokeswoman for The British School late in a reaction that: “We do not comment at this time, we are not formally informed.” According to the NIS, the boy sat up in October 2011 at the international school.
The British School has offices in The Hague and Voorschoten. The high school, with pupils aged 11 to 18 years, is located in Voorschoten.
All schools in secondary schools and vocational schools in Leiden closed Monday in connection with the serious threat. Even at a high school in Oegstgeest is no class Monday.
Sunday hit the police high alert after a threat on the Internet of a possible ‘school shooting’ in the short term. Mayor Henri Lenferink of Leiden said Sunday that the threat was so serious that it was decided to close the schools. It is about twenty schools and thousands of students. ” –


More than 20 schools in the Dutch city of Leiden have been told to stay closed on Monday amid police concerns over a threat to carry out a mass shooting.

The anonymous threat, made on a website, outlined a plan to target a school and teacher in the city, but did not name either.

Police responded by advising all secondary schools and vocational schools to stay closed for the day.

There are reported to be around 22 such schools in the university city.

Two of the main schools, Da Vinci College and Driestar College, had police officers outside them on Monday morning, Dutch media said.

Leiden Mayor Henri Lenferink told Dutch broadcaster NOS: It could just be a morbid joke but we dont want to take any risk.

But some questioned the police decision to close the schools, which affects thousands of students.

Every idiot who sticks a threat on the internet can paralyse half of society, said Ton Duif, chairman of the head teachers association, AVS.


The threat was posted on internet forum 4chan. In English, the writer states: Tomorrow, I will shoot my Dutch teacher, and as many students as I can.

He or she goes on to say that they will be carrying a Colt Defender gun and a note with an explanation for the attack when entering the school.

The threat was picked up by Swiss police during internet checks, Dutch media report.

The decision to close the schools which cover the 12 to 16 age group was made in close consultation with the mayor, the public prosecutor and the police, the BBCs Anna Holligan reports from The Hague.

Police have received mention about a possible school shooting (being planned) in Leiden, the authorities said in a statement.

In light of this serious threat, it has been decided not to take any risk and therefore all middle schools will remain closed on Monday.

Leiden lies some 20km (13 miles) north-east of The Hague, and is home to the countrys oldest university.” – BBC News


Dreiger Leiden opgepakt
De politie heeft een verdachte opgepakt van de ernstige dreiging van een schoolschietpartij. Het zou gaan om een oud-leerling van The British School in Voorschoten. Dat melden bronnen rond de school aan De Telegraaf. De politie heeft het bericht inmiddels bevestigd.
Het zou gaan om een leerling die is weggestuurd van school. Tracy Tichelaar, woordvoerster van The British School laat in een reactie weten: “We geven op dit moment geen commentaar, we zijn formeel nog niet geinformeerd.” Volgens de NOS zat de jongen tot oktober 2011 op de internationale school.
The British school heeft vestigingen in Den Haag en Voorschoten. De middelbare school, met leerlingen van 11 tot 18 jaar, is gevestigd in Voorschoten.
Alle scholen in het voortgezet onderwijs en middelbaar beroepsonderwijs in Leiden zijn maandag gesloten in verband met de serieuze dreiging. Ook op een middelbare school in het Oegstgeest is maandag geen les.
Zondag sloeg de politie groot alarm na een dreiging op internet van een mogelijke ‘schoolshooting’ op korte termijn. Burgemeester Henri Lenferink van Leiden zei zondag dat de dreiging zo serieus was dat werd besloten de scholen te sluiten. Het gaat om ongeveer twintig scholen en duizenden leerlingen. ” –

Meer dan 20 scholen in de Nederlandse stad Leiden heeft verteld om te blijven gesloten op maandag amid politie zorgen over een bedreiging voor het uitvoeren van een massale schietpartij.De anonieme dreiging, gemaakt op een website, schetste een plan om een school en leraar in de stad wilt, maar niet de naam van een van beide.

De politie reageerde met het adviseren van alle scholen voor voortgezet onderwijs en middelbaar beroepsonderwijs te blijven gesloten voor de dag.

Er zijn naar verluidt ongeveer 22 dergelijke scholen in de universiteitsstad.

Twee van de belangrijkste scholen, Da Vinci College en het Driestar College, hadden politieagenten buiten ze op maandagochtend, aldus Nederlandse media.

Leidse burgemeester Henri Lenferink vertelde Nederlandse omroep NOS: Het kan gewoon een morbide grap, maar we willen niet het risico te nemen.”

Maar sommige vraagtekens bij de politie besluit om de scholen, die duizenden studenten benvloedt sluiten.

“Elke idioot die een bedreiging op het internet steekt kan de helft van de samenleving verlammen“, zegt Ton Duif, voorzitter van de vereniging het hoofd leraar, AVS.


De dreiging werd gepost op internet forum 4chan. In het Engels, de schrijver zegt: “Morgen, ik zal mijn leraar Nederlands te schieten, en zo veel studenten als ik kan.”

Hij of zij gaat verder met te zeggen dat ze zullen dragen van een Colt Defender pistool en een briefje met een verklaring voor de aanval bij het invoeren van de school.

De dreiging werd opgepikt door de Zwitserse politie tijdens controles internet, Nederlandse media verslag.

Het besluit om de scholen te sluiten – dat de 12 tot 16 jarigen te dekken is gemaakt in nauw overleg met de burgemeester, de officier van justitie en de politie, Anna Holligan rapporten van de BBC uit Den Haag.

De politie heeft melding gekregen over een mogelijke schietpartij op de school (gepland) in Leiden,” de autoriteiten zeiden in een verklaring.

In het licht van deze ernstige bedreiging, is besloten om geen risico te nemen en dus alle middelbare scholen blijven gesloten op maandag.”

Leiden ligt op ongeveer 20 kilometer (13 mijl) ten noordenoosten van Den Haag, en is de thuisbasis van het land de oudste universiteit.

Thousands protest Russia’s anti-gay policies


Russia’s many anti-LGBT initiatives landed Russian President Vladimir Putin in hot water during his visit to the Netherlands and Germany this week. As Euronews reported:

Thousands of people in Amsterdam turned out to demonstrate against a proposed anti-gay propaganda law in Russia, as President Vladimir Putin visited the Dutch capital on Monday.

The draft bill, which still needs a second reading and to be signed by Putin to become law, would see offenders handed a fine of 500,000 roubles (over 12,000 euros).

Euronews correspondent, James Franey said, “The ban on so-called homosexual propaganda is just one step in what gay rights activists have called a state-sponsored witch hunt. Just last year, a Moscow court slapped a 100-year ban on the city’s Gay Pride march. It’s not gone down well with Amsterdam City Hall officials, who have taken an unusual step of protesting against a visiting head of state.”

On Putin’s…

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UK: Memories of the great flood of 1953 – 310113 1310z

The Great Flood of 1953

Canvey Island

“In the early 1950s Europe was still recovering from six years of war. Rationing of certain items was still in force. Hardly anyone owned a television set and a telephone was considered a luxury that ordinary working-class people could not afford. Communication with the outside world was therefore minimal; people learned about the news via the radio set or from reading days-old newspapers. Most people were still trying to get their lives back on track; some wives were welcoming back repatriated husbands who had changed beyond recognition. Some men couldn’t adjust to life back in ‘Civvy Street’. Family life was a struggle as people had to cope by themselves as best they could: there were no Samaritans to call, and no such thing as counselling for bereavement1. Neighbours relied upon each other and doors were rarely locked. Significantly, there were no social plans in place in the event of severe storms at sea affecting populated coastal areas. Nor were there any emergency procedures in place which would alert the authorities to evacuate people at risk of flood in advance.

(Photo: Thames Pilot Site

Storm Surges

A storm surge happens when the wind pushes the sea towards the coast, with low air pressure2, wind direction and high tide being significant factors. Between 31 January and 1 February, 1953, a storm surge occurred over the North Sea. The sea level rose by several metres, causing severe flooding to low-lying coastal areas, particularly eastern England, Scotland, Belgium and The Netherlands. It took four days for the flood water to recede, and there was widespread sewage damage. This ‘once-in-250-year event’ was responsible for thousands of deaths and colossal destruction of property. It has been described as ‘the worst national peacetime disaster to hit the UK’. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists placed the 1953 gale into the top 15 of the most significant meteorological events of the 20th Century.

The Human Cost

Thousands of people lost their lives: many of them drowning in their own beds. The first to die were the crew of a working trawler, the Michael Griffiths from Fleetwood, Lancashire, which sank without trace off the Outer Hebrides; all hands were lost. The Princess Victoria ferry abandoned ship off Belfast and over 130 passengers and crew drowned in the Irish Sea. The Netherlands, with many people living in areas below sea-level, suffered the greatest human toll: 1,836 people were killed during that dreadful night. In Belgium another 22 people died. Lincolnshire was one of the most badly affected areas of the UK, with waves over six metres high battering sea defences all along the east coast. Of the 307 people who were killed in England that night, 43 of them died in Lincolnshire. Not one home in the seaside town of Cleethorpes escaped the deluge, and the railway embankment was enveloped. The length of promenade stretching from Cleethorpes Pier to Wonderland was destroyed. A miracle occurred in Lowestoft: families whose homes were flooded headed for a local church and not one person was killed nor even seriously injured.


The floodwater reached more than two miles inland in England, and hurricane force winds were registered at Felixstowe in Suffolk, where 39 deaths were recorded. Some of these were entire families, swept away after they had scrambled onto the anticipated safety of the roof of their single-storey homes. Violet Sparrow of Felixstowe saved the lives of her own three children then went to the aid of elderly neighbours, practically pushing them up into her loft to join the children. Her husband, who had been on coastguard duty, arrived home later the following day. Fearing the worst, he shouted their names. The children heard him and shouted back, and he helped rescue them all from their refuge. Another family thought they were safe sheltering in their loft. The mother took four children up into the loft, and the father managed to manipulate the pram containing baby Keith as far up as he could carry it. The pram couldn’t be hoisted up onto the rafters, and as both parents had to hold two children each to prevent them from falling, the decision was made to let the pram float on top of the flood water. Hours later they realised the baby was very quiet, and when they checked him, the distraught parents found he had succumbed to the cold and he could not be revived.


The fierce winds brought down telephone lines in Norfolk and Lincolnshire so there was no way to warn those living further south of the ravaging storm headed their way. Waves breached the banks of The Wash, and the town of King’s Lynn lost 15 inhabitants. Another 66 people died in Heacham, the neighbouring village. When the storm surge reached its peak the tide was 8ft (2.5m) higher than was usual. In Essex coastal regions, 95 people perished in the Clacton-on-Sea and Canvey Island areas.


In East London more people drowned when over a thousand homes were deluged. The floodwater reached as far as the embankments in Victoria and Chelsea. The Thames and the River Lea burst their banks: only the fact that the storm was abating prevented the engulfment of the London Underground.


One Lincolnshire survivor, Gertrude Trevethick of Sea Lane, Saltfleet, later wrote in her diary about the ‘night of horror and fear’ when the sea flooded her family home. Her husband carried their children upstairs to safety while she gathered tins of food, clothes and a kettle. With the children all huddled together in one bed, Mr and Mrs Trevethick then watched helplessly from the bedroom window as the sea consumed their neighbours’ bungalows. The Trevethicks lost three friends that dreadful night, Mrs Clayton, Mrs Millward and Mr Frost, who all drowned. She recorded how Saltfleet farmer Herb Horton recovered his own father’s body and dispatched his mother off to hospital, then worked on all through the night, using his tractor to rescue trapped people and transporting them to safety.

No doubt there were many unsung heroes on the night of the great flood. Five people, however, were awarded the George Medal for their bravery and gallantry.


Four of them were two Lincolnshire policemen, a fireman from Great Yarmouth and an American serviceman. The other was Reis Leeming, a 22-year-old stationed at the US air base at Sculthorpe, Norfolk, who battled through the night in a small rubber dingy to rescue 27 trapped people. Eventually the young airman collapsed with exhaustion and thought he was going to die himself as he was suffering from severe hypothermia. He awoke in hospital to the news that 31 people from the air base and family accommodations had died, 16 of them were American citizens. A fleet of haulage vehicles carrying 30 rowing boats was dispatched to Sutton-on-Sea but they could not reach the cut-off village, the swollen sea barred their way for a mile and a half (2.4km). Rescue attempts had to be put on hold until the Army arrived with specialist vehicles.

The Safe’s Safe

Before the Army could leave after they had done all they could to assist the rescue effort, the manager of Lloyds Bank Sutton-on-Sea branch, which was completely submerged, requested their help with the removal of the bank safe, (which contained about £ 5,000), to their branch in Alford. This task was accomplished using a winch, a ramp, a flat-back lorry and lots of manpower.


The economic impact of the storm surge was enormous: ships, including trawlers, were sunk and livelihoods lost. Many herds of cattle drowned; huge areas of low-lying arable land flooded and became unsuitable for crop-growing for many years afterwards due to contamination. Over a hundred roads, including 11 major routes, were impassable and 200 miles of railway was cut off in England alone. Fresh water stored underground was polluted with sea water. Many thousands of homes that were flooded could not be repaired, so they had to be demolished, meaning tens of thousands of survivors of the flood were displaced.

Affected people were devastated at the unbearable loss and destruction, and some locals never recovered from crushed spirits and broken hearts. A stressed Cleethorpes grocery shop owner, having surveyed the uninsured ruined stock, never went back, and his abandoned shop was sold the following year3. The railway track, which terminated at Cleethorpes Station, was relaid. New sea defences were erected and the promenade replaced. The entire promenade received a make-over in a modernisation programme during the 1990s.

The British Conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Anthony Eden, instigated the rebuilding of sea defences where they had existed and instructed the building of new flood protection. The Met Office established the ‘Storm Tide Forecasting Service’ which provided details of tidal surges and forecasts of wave activity over the next 24 hour period. The Queen, who was staying at Sandringham in Norfolk at the time of the devastation, visited nearby Hunstanton. The Duchess of Gloucester, representing the Queen, met with dignitaries and local survivors at Alford in Lincolnshire.

In The Netherlands, attention was focused on the closure of the dykes which had failed to give protection to the people living in areas below sea-level. The Deltawerken (Delta Plan) was conceived with the intention of preventing such a repeat of the tragic 1953 disaster. (see video below)

In London, planning for the Thames Barrier began, but was only completed in 1982, 29 years after the disaster. It

(Photo: Thames Barrier

protects 45 sq miles (116.5 sq km) of the capital which is vulnerable to the risk of flooding. This should last until 2070; it’s hoped that a new barrier at Long Reach will be in place by then. The National Rivers Authority was created in 1989 to take charge of flood defences in England and Wales. When the Environment Agency was formed in 1996, they became responsible for flood defences and warnings over the entire UK. In 2003, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh unveiled a plaque in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1953 great flood.

Wallasea Wetlands

One of the last4 areas to be cleared after the flooding, Wallasea Island near Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, has since been turned into The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, the UK’s largest man-made wetland. The UK Government had allowed the Lappel Bank cargo terminal to be developed in the 1990s, destroying the wetlands and marshes in the Medway estuary in Kent in the process, even though they were protected under the European Union’s Birds’ Directive. Following an upheld challenge by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), the European Court ruled that the Government had acted illegally, so the Wallasea Wetlands Creation Project was undertaken to make amends for the loss. The UK Government spent £ 7.5m on ‘coastal engineering’ to create a new habitat of 115 hectares of salt marsh, mudflats, saltwater lakes and seven created islands for many wading birds like lapwings, oystercatchers and avocets.


The Future

Environment Agency Flood Warnings
(Click image to visit EA)

No-one can predict the next major meteorological event but in the 21st Century we have the benefit of instant communication and 24-hour rolling news services via television and the Internet. People living in flood-risk areas can access information for their locality and make preparations in the event of such a devastating scenario recurring.

There’s no doubt that storms and resulting floods will continue to affect coastal regions, but hopefully not at the cost of multiple human lives.

With climate change as an additional factor, surges will happen more often, and the risk is increasing. The return period for a 1.5m surge in the North Sea the interval over which you’d expect it to happen again at least once is 120 years at the moment. By the 2080s we expect a 1.5m storm surge could happen in the North Sea at least once every seven years. But our warning systems are a lot better than they were then, so loss of life on the scale of 1953 is pretty unlikely.
– Sean Clarke of the UK Met Office, speaking in 2003

1 In February 1952 the UK and Commonwealth reeled with shock at the unexpected death of King George VI, a frail, cancer-stricken man whose refusal to leave London during the Blitz endeared him and his family to the nation. The tragedy catapulted his daughter Princess Elizabeth to the throne and Queen Elizabeth, whom Adolf Hitler once described as ‘the most dangerous woman in Europe’ because she was held in such high regard, was relegated to the role of Queen Mother.
2 If air pressure decreases by one millibar, sea level rises by one centimetre.
3 His shop on the corner of Warneford Road and Oxford Street was sold unseen as a ‘thriving business opportunity’ to a couple from Leeds, Yorkshire, who were unaware of the unrepaired flood damage. They had to rebuild and decorate before they could open for business.
4 Sometime during the 1970s.” – BBC News (photos inserted from other sources)


The sea surges above the coast, flooding whole areas of East Anglia. It is the worst disaster in peacetime Britain. Using rare, original film, discover the stories behind the disastrous floods of East Anglia.

Sixty years ago, on 31 January and 1 February 1953, over 300 people died in flooding on the East Coast of England. Today such floods are predicted by a warning system implemented after the 1953 flood. Flooding is expected to get worse due to climate change.
Dr Anna Carlsson Hyslop from the Department of Sociology tells us more:


An old film about the Dutch Watersnood in 1953 and the abundant international help we received.
It ends with a short speech from queen Juliana.