DCSIMG

It could have been far worse...

The high tides, strong winds and rough seas batter Castletown's fragile sea walls, causing flooding in low lying harbourside areas

The high tides, strong winds and rough seas batter Castletown's fragile sea walls, causing flooding in low lying harbourside areas

Householders in Castletown and Ramsey, worst hit by flooding last Friday, had feared the worst as the Met Office issued a second red warning.

But in the event the flooding during Monday’s mid-afternoon storm surge was nothing like as bad – although the sea defences particularly in the south of the island took another battering.

Another 500 sandbags were deployed in Castletown and 600 in Ramsey on Sunday evening, bringing the total distributed around the island since last Thursday to an unprecedented 13,000.

Parliament Street in Ramsey, which was badly hit on Friday, escaped a further deluge this time round with the high tide 30cm lower. Floodwater lapped over the Quayside but no properties were affected.

In Castletown, locals gathered around the harbour to await high tide at 3pm. Once again, Hope Street and Springfield Terrace saw some flooding but the water level was not as high and there was little extra damage to homes.

Crashing waves, bolstered by the huge storm surge, battered the town’s harbour and exacerbated damage to the sea wall by the Old Grammar School.

Coastal roads and promenades were closed to traffic and pedestrians.

Shore Road in Gansey was closed on Tuesday for emergency work to clear blocked gullies.

Laxey Promenade was also closed, until 4pm on Wednesday, to allow work to clear storm debris including huge piles of stones and pebbles.

Department of Infrastructure maintenance manager Alan Hardinge said: ‘It was nowhere near as bad on Monday. I don’t know whether the wind was a strong or there was a slight change in its direction. People in the south were reporting the wave height was as large as they’ve ever seen.

‘The coastal areas too a battering but the inner harbours don’t appear to have been as bad as last time.

‘In total we’ve put out 13,000 sandbags since last Thursday, which is unprecedented. In the past we’ve put out probably 5,000 sandbags.’

He said gangs were working until 9pm on Monday to clear debris from roads and promenades.

Adrian Cowin at Ronaldsway Met Office said the figures for the storm surge were very close to those predicted. Initial indications had been for high tide of 8.1m but this was revised downward on Monday morning to 8.03m and in the event the recorded height at Douglas was 7.98m.

The windspeed was force 7 gusting to 45mph.

Mr Cowin said the direction of the wind had changed slightly from Friday. ‘That could make all the difference. There was a little more southerly in it. This would have given a slightly bigger swell, giving extra height for the waves to build on and making the wave profile steeper. This gives the waves a lot of energy.’

Deptment of Infrastructure said any sandbags still in place on Monday (January 13) will be assumed to be no longer required – so will be collected and returned to the strategic store.

However, as there will be high tides again early next month, which if combined with low pressure and high winds could cause further flooding, householders and businesses will be allowed to keep hold of sandbags if they store them in a safe place.

 

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