Higher than normal tides expected on New Year’s Day, but ‘no need to panic’ says Environment Agency

Stormy seas off Skegness.
Stormy seas off Skegness.
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The Environment Agency has urged coastal communities battered by last week’s tidal surge not to panic, amid reports that higher than normal tides are expected on New Year’s Day.

The tide level on New Year’s Day is expected to be higher than the one recorded during last week’s tidal surge.

But, unless low air pressure and storm-force winds also conspire to make an appearance on the day, it is likely the water level will actually be lower than the combined height of the tide and storm surge last week.

And the Environment Agency is urging the public to stay informed and keep an eye on the weather forecast as New Year’s Day approaches.

The Agency is also continuing to inspect and repair the flood defences damaged by the surge.

John Ray, of the Environment Agency, said: “Astronomical tide levels for the first week of January are slightly higher than those experienced last Thursday evening.

“This does not however mean we will have a repeat of the flooding. This is because tidal flooding is caused by a combination of tide levels, tidal surge and strong winds.

“We know what astronomical tide levels are going to be years ahead but weather conditions can only be forecast by the Met Office up to about a week in advance.

“[For example] astronomical tide levels at Immingham for the first week of January are between 3.45 (on 1st) peaking at 3.77 on the 3rd but what we don’t know yet is what the weather will be.

“Last Thursday’s astronomical tide at Immingham was 3.61 but it was this combined with strong winds and a large surge of over 1.6 metres above tide level which resulted in tidal flooding.

John said: “We have staff out on the ground checking our tidal defences and will carry out repairs where they are needed.

“We also have staff on duty whose job it is to monitor conditions and we will issue Flood Alerts and Warnings if this becomes necessary.

“We would like to reassure people that should we need them to take any action to prepare for the tide on New Year’s Day or any other time, we will work with our partners to let them know.”

In the meantime, people can find out more about the type of action they can take and sign up to receive the Environment Agency’s free flood warnings. They can do this by contacting Floodline Warnings Direct on 0845 988 1188.