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Cornwall flooding fears as highest tides of the year hit coast

By WBMiles  |  Posted: March 02, 2014

Fears of flooding in Cornwall as the biggest tides of the year hit the coast.

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Cornwall is facing fresh flooding fears as the highest tides of the year hit the coastline.

The Environment Agency has put a flood warning in place for the entire Cornish coastline with a tidal surge, massive swell and high winds expected to cause problems.

The high tides – of up to 8.4m – have already washed a shipping container into a damaged promenade at Newquay.

On the south coast a strom-damaged community is bracing itself for the next wave of wild weather expected to come “straight down our throat”.

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities and a former Coastguard worker, said: “It’s a combination of the Atlantic swell and the highest tides of the year.

“The forecast for tomorrow morning is for winds potentially pushing to gale force so we are watching it very carefully.”

Mr Brown said staff from Cormac, the council’s civil engineering firm, were on site at Towan beach in Newquay where a shipping container used by the Blue Reef aquarium had been washed into a hole in the promenade.

Work has been going on all around Cornwall to recover from the storm damage after repeated wild weather battered coastal communities.

Mr Brown said: “In most places we need to address it very, very quickly both for public safety and because we have Easter holidays coming.”

In Porthleven the harbour is still empty of fishing boats as a result of previous storms which destroyed the protective baulks.

Andy Wallis, Cornwall Council member for the area said: “It’s looking like westerlies tomorrow so that will come straight down our throat.

“There will be concern with the high spring tides and wind and waves pushing it on.

“Everyone is on standby and we won’t know until it hits us or it doesn’t. On Valentine’s Day it changed within two minutes and that’s the nature of the weather around here.”

In Penzance a litter pick was carried out to clear debris from the beach after the devastation caused by recent storms.

Mr Wallis said: “All of the precautions that can be taken have been taken – there’s not much more we can do.”

The Environment Agency has warned that locations with damage to defences, buildings and structures would be especially vulnerable to the predicted large waves.

High tide will take place at 5.10am and 5.32pm at Penzance and at 6.58am and 7.22pm at Looe. On the north coast high tide will be at 5.47am and 6.08pm at Sennen and at 6.51am and 7.11pm at Bude.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Strong winds are forecast for the period and large waves are expected to build during Sunday and through Monday.”

A flood warning means that flooding is expected and action is required.

The Environment Agency said the areas likely to be affected included Penzance, Newlyn Green, Marazion, Longrock, Porthleven, St Mawes, Pentewan, Looe, Seaton, Kingsands, Cawsands and Plymouth on the south coast.

On the North coast the locations included Bude, Newquay, Perranporth, Portreath and St Ives.

The Environment Agency spokesman warned people to stay away from the coast during the flood warning.

He said: “Conditions in exposed locations will be dangerous so please remain a safe distance from coastal frontages.”

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