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St Ives' residents nervously await return of high tides after Saturday's battering

By CMScott  |  Posted: February 04, 2014

  • As dark fell the waters rose - picture courtesy St Ives TV.

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Residents in St Ives were anxiously awaiting more high tides on Wednesday, after Saturday saw waves crashing against seafront shops in the town.

The spring tide storm surge on Saturday saw emergency services and HM Coastguard close off Wharf Road in the town after the sea overtopped the harbour wall.

A 92-year-old living near Smeaton’s Pier was taken to hospital with cuts and bruises after a particularly powerful wave crashed through her living room window.

Firefighters from St Ives rushed to the scene and pumped a foot of water out of the property and shored up the window while paramedics took the woman to West Cornwall Hospital.

And police and HM Coastguard patrolled the harbour front as onlookers, initially joking and laughing as they took pictures and video footage, watched the waters rise.

As high tide approached, however, the harbour wall was overtopped and waves started to swirl along Wharf Road.

Wheelie bins outside The Sloop Inn were caught in the current and only stopped from being washed away by the iron railings on the harbour wall.

Lifeboat crews from St Ives RNLI station were also on hand although their primary task was to ensure the security of the lifeboat house as waves washed against its main glass doors.

Business along the front had been prepared and although striking video footage by St Ives TV shows waves crashing against shop doors and windows, most were unaffected.

Gordon Mackie, who owns Coast To Go and St Ives Pasty Bakery, said: “The water did wash along the shop fronts but the damage has been slight because we were prepared for it.

“We are bracing ourselves for tomorrow morning and tomorrow night now. We are all boarded up and waiting for the high tide because expectations are it will be worse than Saturday.”

Saturday’s high tide was particularly galling for the owners of Porthmeor Beach Café, whose decking had just been repaired on Saturday morning following the last major storm two weeks ago.

Jim Woolcock said: “That was as bad as I have seen it for lots and lots of years. I’ve been here 20 years and it’s never been like this. We didn’t expect it to be quite as bad as the first instance. It’s just one of those things, we just have to deal with it.”

Co-owner Ian Alford said: “Finishing it Saturday morning, that’s the irony. Hopefully we have had a one off twice.”

Beach huts along the front were destroyed too, and in Carbis Bay doors were ripped from beach huts there after waves washed away the sand that has traditionally protected them.

92-year-old Mary Ashton was in the living room of her property at Seaview Place when the force of waves as high as 40ft pushed the window out of its frame.

Seawater, rocks and other debris filled the living room of the property which overlooks Bamaluz Beach, causing Mrs Ashton to be knocked to the ground, where she was rescued from the incoming water by neighbours.

Phyllis Rashleigh, who lives next door, heard the commotion and took Mrs Ashton into her home while they waited for emergency services.

She said: “I was sitting next door when I heard this great bang. The whole window flew in. We are used to having waves hit the wall and we were well warned. This was exceptional.”

Mrs Rashleigh took her elderly neighbour into her home while her granddaughter-who is a student paramedic- assessed her injuries.

Mrs Ashton sustained a head injury and was taken to West Cornwall Hospital where she has remained since the incident on Saturday evening.

As The Cornishman went to print on Wednesday weather experts were predicting the storm that set in on Tuesday night to continue, exacerbating what was expected to be a series of potentially threatening high tides over the coming days..

To see St Ives TV's footage of Saturday night click on: http://stivestv.co.uk/all-st-ives-tv-videos/storm-surge-strikes-st-ives-harbour/

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