Sunday, December 15, 2013
After the storm
You can see how close the storm came to breaching the sea banks if you make the long walk from the King's Lynn AA lakes to the bird hides at Snettisham. Bathed in the low sun's morning light, you wouldn't believe how close we came to catastrophic flooding on this part of the Norfolk coast.
Just a week earlier, we were out covering the storm surge and its aftermath. People lost their homes further round the coast, as the biggest North Sea surge for 60 years lashed our coast.
After covering my patch for the papers, I ended up at the Sea Life Sanctuary where staff were racing against time to save sharks and turtles as the centre flooded, cutting off power to their tanks.
They got nearly everything out in one piece, during an incredible rescue operation. which involved catching the creatures and running through the flood water to the waiting vans.
Once or twice, I wondered how the rivers and drains would be affected as I binned the day off I would have spent on them and got stuck in with colleagues covering the aftermath.
The bridge at St Germans was seriously damaged, closed to traffic. I headed down there for a look and found the incoming tide higher than I'd ever seen it. Water had come gushing through the expansion gaps the night before, villagers told me.
I watched the river as the tide turned and the water lapped high up the banks. I checked my quotes, uploaded my pictures and filed my stories.
The water topped Denver Sluice at the height of the surge, as the tide lapped around the Custom House on the quayside at King's Lynn. Friends who were there thought the barriers would go as the sea came coursing up the New Cut.
At times like this, you realise just how vulnerable parts of the Fens are - truly a landscape living on borrowed time. Thirty years. Maybe 50. Perhaps even a century. Sooner or later, the waters will come rushing back into the great sink the Dutch drainers reclaimed.
posted at 22:45