On December 5th 2013 Whitby was hit by flooding caused by a very major storm surge. National news reported this to be the biggest surge of its type in The North Sea since 1953.
The huge tidal surge caused loss of power throughout the town centre and several small fires were dealt with by the local fire brigade.
Properies around the town center suffered significant flood damage and many properties on Church Street were flooded out with residents having to move from their homes for six months or more whilst thier properties dried out and were repaired.
Many residents and business owners were angry with Scarborough Borough Council for the lack of preventative action in the days and hours leading upto the storm surge which had been predicted almost 48hours prior to the event.
Angry residents say they were not warned what to expect by the council, and alsothe lack of sandbag provision was also highlighted as a major failing by the council.
Local residents came to each others rescue and in the days following the floods a group of local volunteers, headed by the local congregational church were on hand to help residents clean out their ruined belongings.
Reverand Mark Ladds set up a furniture wharehouse at his church and financial donations were made to help the flood victims.
What Caused The Floods In Whitby ??
A storm surge is caused by a low pressure system crossing the top of the North Sea above Scotland. It has little to do with waves, winds or tides on a local basis, infact the last tidal surge at Whitby in 2011 occurred on a very calm night with a neap tide in Whitby.
The low pressure system with high winds and large waves above Scotland pushes the water away, and in this case the excess water gets funneled down the north sea and causes flooding to low lieing areas.
Although Rare, storm surges are not unknown in Whitby and I can personally think of at least 4 in the last 10 years. The last storm surge to hit Whitby was in 2011 and is documented here on Real Whitby.
The Storm surge of December 2013 was more severe because of how deep the low pressure was which passed over Scotland on Thursday 5th Dec.
Coupled with Spring tides of 5.8 Meters, the water levels were already high, meaning the extra surge had nowhere to go, other than onto the streets and areas surrounding the lower harbour.
Do You Have Any Stories About The Storm Surge ?
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Further Reading On Flooding At Whitby