Wales ‘really lucky’ storm Eunice arrived just after high tide says Climate Change minister
Wales was “really, really lucky” that the arrival of Storm Eunice did not coincide with high tide as that would have caused much worse flooding along coastal cities, Wales’ climate change minister has said.
The Met Office had imposed a red weather warning along the coast of the south of Wales, warning that “large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and homes, including flooding of some coastal properties” could be a “danger to life”.
Climate change minister Julie James said that the consequences could be “catastrophic” if humanity was not able to stop a further rise in temperatures, and said that storm Eunice had been a near-miss in terms of flooding.
“If you look at what happened with Storm Eunice this weekend, we have a really unlucky combination of a big storm coming in and the Spring tides,” she told Sunday Supplement.
“So actually we really, really were lucky in Wales because the wind came in around 20-25 minutes after the absolute height of the tides. I actually watched that happen in Swansea – I’m lucky enough to live by the coast.
“So we were watching it, we saw the incredibly high tide come in, and actually the wind came in 20-15 minutes later so it was just going back – thank goodness.
“So we have to make sure that all our coastal defences – all of our cities are built on the coast or on river mouths, because they’re good trading places, they’re great places for humanity in the past.
“But with sea rise and with these kinds of events we need to make sure our coastal defences are in place and they’re resilient.”
Presenter Vaughan Roderick asked Julie James how they could protect a city like Cardiff, large parts of which has been “built on land that was under the sea” before being developed.
Julie James responded: “Cardiff has as you know a barrage which was quite controversial at the time but thank goodness for it now, actually.
“Swansea is going to have to look very seriously at its coastal defences along the front. We’re doing a lot of work in river catchments as well – we’re restoring a lot of our natural flood defences that we mistakenly took away in the past. So we’re restoring the blanket bogs. And there are trees and other things along the river catchments.
“So we are seeing less flooding along our main rivers actually than we were before.
“We also have some legacy things in Wales that we need to look to like the safety of our coal tips, for example. We’ve had a massive programme of investigation to ensure that we know what is happening on those. So we’ve got lots of work going on across Wales on the resilience front.”
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“And there are trees and other things along the river catchments.”
Unfortunately there has been a lot of clear felling in recent years which has increased the run off into many of our rivers. It has also resulted in a lot of trash coming downstream and blocking culverts. Much work is needed in terms of reducing debris and replanting ASAP!
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