The cleanup process has begun following the significant damage caused by Storm Ciarán, which broke records with its powerful winds and heavy rainfall. A conservation charity has estimated that the intense weather conditions, along with powerful waves, resulted in five years’ worth of erosion in just one day along the cliffs on England’s south coast.
Residents and companies were advised to get ready for potential flooding due to additional rain on already soaked soil, resulting in a quick increase of river levels in certain regions over the next few days.
On Thursday, a storm quickly passed through the UK and the Channel Islands, resulting in wind speeds of 102mph that caused damage to buildings and led to the evacuation of numerous individuals.
At 2pm this Friday, there were a total of 74 warnings for flooding and 221 alerts for flooding, covering a large portion of England except for the north-west region. The River Ritec in Tenby, located in south-west Wales, has reached unprecedented levels and a serious warning for flooding is currently in effect.
The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall in the north-east region of Scotland on Friday, cautioning of potential additional disruptions. They also expanded the warning to include a significant portion of southern England, spanning from Cornwall in the west to Kent in the east, for Saturday.
The National Trust reported that at Studland in Dorset, sand dunes had crumbled and there was damage to beach huts and fencing.
According to Tracey Churcher, the general manager for Purbeck at the National Trust, we typically have to be cautious of strong easterly winds. However, the recent damage caused by a south westerly wind has caught everyone off guard. The combination of low atmospheric pressure, high tides, and the immense force of the sea has greatly impacted Studland and has been a shock to both staff and those familiar with the area.
The storm, Ciarán, has caused a significant amount of coastal erosion in a short amount of time. Our calculations show that the damage caused by this storm would typically take four to five years to occur, but it happened over just two high tides.
Around 3,000 metric tons of rocks and boulders tumbled down from the cliffs in West Bay, Dorset. Richard Edmonds, a 61-year-old geologist who works independently, warned that the cliffs are currently extremely hazardous and urged people to exercise caution. He advised against approaching the cliffs for at least the next two weeks, as there is a high probability of another collapse happening soon.
On the island of Jersey, where the government reported winds reaching 102mph, schools remained closed and flights to and from the airport were suspended on Friday morning after “extensive infrastructure, equipment and system failures” were identified. The airport reopened in the afternoon.
The government issued a warning, stating that numerous roads are still not accessible and islanders should use caution before venturing outside. Authorities from the parishes, emergency services, and the infrastructure and environment department are working to remove debris from the roads. However, some roads that have been cleared still have hazardous overhanging branches that could potentially fall.
The leader of Jersey, Kristina Moore, stated that the government was ensuring that individuals who were forced to leave their homes due to storm damage were provided with shelter and were in a secure situation.
The Cornwall council has stated that the clean-up process will carry on over the weekend and into the following week. A total of 419 incidents were reported to the highways team, with 282 calls concerning fallen trees or large branches in various areas of Cornwall. Additionally, there were 112 reports of flooding on roads or properties, as well as a few minor landslips and collapsed walls.
Linda Taylor, the leader of the council, stated that they have successfully navigated through the challenging situation without any reported injuries or significant issues. This is a testament to the dedication and effort put in this week.
In the vicinity of Southampton, Southern Water established stations for distributing bottled water to those whose access to water was still disrupted. The majority of households have had their power restored. While most train and ferry services have resumed, travelers were advised to expect delays due to the ripple effect.
The Met Office reported that a new record was achieved for the lowest average sea level pressure recorded in England and Wales during November. The measurements were 953.3 hectopascals or millibars in Plymouth and 958.5 in St Athan, located in south Wales.
In England, the previous highest record was 959.7, which was established in 1916. In Wales, the previous record was 962.7, set in 2010. The overall UK record, set in Scotland in 1877, remains unmatched at 939.7.