During the first week of November 2007 the Met Office began to grow concerned about conditions in the North Sea. The forecast strong winds combined with high tides indicated that, on 9 November, some Eastern coastal areas could face their biggest storm surge for more than 50 years.
A deep area of low pressure, which brought severe gales to parts of Northern Scotland, crossed the North Sea 'pushing' water south towards the narrower and shallower parts, thus creating a storm surge.
The Met Office worked closely with the Environment Agency, the Cabinet Office, and emergency services to ensure emergency planning procedures were in place.
On 9 November the actual recorded sea levels came to just 10 cm below the top of most of the sea walls in and around Great Yarmouth, within, according to the Environment Agency, a 'hair's breadth' of breaching them.
|6 Nov||Met Office forecasters started to highlight a risk of a significant storm surge in the North Sea. Environment Agency alerted.|
|7 Nov||Strengthening north to northwest winds predicted, with speeds up to 63 mph Forecasts consistently showed surges up to 3 m, 50-90 cm above the Environment Agency alert levels in the East Anglia and Thames Estuary area.|
|8 Nov||Peak risk forecast to be the morning high tide (between 7.30 a.m. and 10 a.m.) on 9 November, along the east-facing Norfolk and Suffolk coast (especially Great Yarmouth).|
|9 Nov||The highest observed level was seen at Lowestoft, 0.71 m above the Environment Agency alert level.|
The winds were largely offshore, resulting in the waves not being as high as they could have been. At the same time the storm surge had lessened as it travelled down the coast and by early morning was 20-30 cm less than anticipated in previous days.
Storm surges are likely to be higher and more frequent under climate change - as early as this century. We are working on a major study of coastal flooding around the UK, which will be the most comprehensive of its type in the world. The study will use information from a range of climate models and include the effects of changes in sea level and changes in storminess. The results will help our customers in government and the business world plan for the future using risk-based projections.
Last updated: 11 May 2011