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Storm Imogen sees wave heights of 19.1 metres raising concern for 'storm selfies'

As Storm Imogen sweeps in, we are reminded that incidents of selfie related injuries continue to rise at an alarming rate. Thrill-seekers are warned not to put themselves at risk by taking photographs along wave-battered promenades and breakwaters.

This morning (08/02/16) wave heights of up to 19 metres have been recorded along UK coast lines. Whilst these will provide a spectacle, it is not worth getting too close. Last year, coastal flooding led to people taking unnecessary risks to capture dramatic moments along the country's coastline. Videos of people getting swept along roads by waves even became internet hits.

Storm Imogen - image by Steve Jones. RNLI. Storm Imogen - image by Steve Jones. RNLI.

Wave heights up to 19.1 metres have been recorded this morning as the RNLI warn people to keep their distance from promenades. The image above was taken by Steve Jones (RNLI) at Porthcawl, where Storm Imogen caused waves to come crashing in.

The Environment Agency and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) are again calling for people to stay out of harm's way on the coast. The two organizations are reiterating their warning to wave watchers against the danger of taking 'storm selfies':

Andy Wilkinson, Environment Agency Duty Flood Risk Manager, said: "Today, Storm Imogen continues to bring large waves and spray to the south and south-west coastal parts of England. Storms can be exhilarating, but please keep safe.

"In recent years an increasing number of people have put themselves, family members and rescue workers at severe risk whilst wave watching and taking storm selfies. Please remember to take extreme care on coastal paths and promenades. Flooding of low lying coastal roads is also possible and people should also avoid driving through flood water: just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.

"There is also an ongoing risk of river flooding from the River Wye today and the Severn until Friday as they continue to rise in response to heavy rainfall. Environment Agency teams are on the ground monitoring the situation and will issue flood warnings and alerts as required. Anyone can keep up to date with the latest situation on GOV.UK or follow @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest updates."

Claire-Marie Mason of the RNLI said, 'Those particularly at risk from these conditions are walkers on beaches or harbour walls when the water is high; spectators looking at the waves who get too close; and anglers fishing from rocks or exposed headlands.  With storms forecast, areas that you may have considered safe before could be underwater when large waves come ashore.'

'If you are planning a coastal activity, our advice is to respect the water;  watch the shore from a safe distance and assess the conditions - think about the risk before deciding if  you need to go closer.'

Top tips to stay safe

  • Try to avoid walking through flood water because there may be hidden hazards such as potholes and missing manhole covers.
  • If you have to walk in a flooded area, be aware of the power of moving water, try to wear waders and take a stick to check the ground in front of you as this may save your life.
  • Sign-up for the Environment Agency's free flood warnings, listen out for National Severe Weather Warnings from Met Office and following advice from coastguards.
  • Do not try to capture scenes of severe weather by taking 'selfies', getting too close to rough seas or walking in exposed areas. Stay safe and consider whether it's necessary to venture out.
  • Keep up to date with the full #WeatherStory.
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