Picture of destruction is revealed

A SHOCKING picture of the destruction which could be unleashed on Weston in a 'one-in-200-year' storm can be revealed by the Weston & Somerset Mercury. Experts using new computer and physical models of the town being battered by a severe storm or freak hi

A SHOCKING picture of the destruction which could be unleashed on Weston in a 'one-in-200-year' storm can be revealed by the Weston & Somerset Mercury.Experts using new computer and physical models of the town being battered by a severe storm or freak high tide say once water is over the sea wall, it could flow as far inland as Mead Vale in Worle within hours.Consultants Royal Haskoning have put together a graphic which shows what would unfold if sea defences proposed by North Somerset Council, which include a controversial splash wall measuring up to 1.5 metres in height along part of the promenade, are not built.Engineers say one-in-200-year high tides of over eight 8.1 metres would spill over the current sea wall in still conditions. Force eight storms with waves of 2m could cause the same flooding at lower high tides.Hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of water would top the wall and flow into the town centre at high speed along its narrower streets. The flow would slow down in open areas and away from the seafront.It is estimated such flooding would affect 4,467 residential and commercial buildings, causing over £350 million in damage.The firm currently has eight staff working full time to assess the town's flood risk. Their work will be used to back up a bid to the Government for sea defence funding.The team is using computer analysis and a model cross section of the sea wall tested in Britain's only purpose built experimental wind tunnel.Previous work carried out by Haskoning estimated fewer properties were at risk. But the latest work is being done in more detail and increases the number of properties thought to be vulnerable to flooding.Haskoning director of South West coast and rivers, Hamish Hall, said: "People are concerned about the high level of risk in Weston which means this scheme has a very high national priority."I have often come across the philosophy that flood defences look bad in a tourist area. It is the reaction you get until areas get hit by a major event, as happened in New Orleans."Weston has a really serious problem. The proposed sea defences are crucial to protect the town and allow more regeneration."We ran the model with the proposed sea defences and it confirmed they would be adequate to protect against a one-in-200-year storm.


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