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Storm surges
Storm surges are swells of water that occur at sea. They are caused by strong winds
pressing on the surface of the water in areas with low atmospheric pressure (known
as depressions). A depression causes the water to be sucked upwards into a hump and
happens when two winds collide. When a hump occurs under a depression and strong
winds are acting against this hump, it creates a tidal movement known as a storm
surge or tidal surge.…read more

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Storm surges in the UK
The storm surge of 1953, known as the North Sea Flood,
occurred before the Thames Barrier was erected and was
the primary cause for its construction. On the night of the
31st of January a tidal surge measuring 5.60 metres swept
down the coast of England. By the time it reached the
Thames it had fallen to 2.59 metres, though the funnel
shape of the river is likely to have caused the height to
increase as the surge travelled inland. The docklands were
flooded but, luckily, the rest of the city remained dry. 307
people were killed on land in the UK, 30,000 were
evacuated, and 24,000 lost their homes. The total death
toll across Europe is estimated at 2,551.…read more

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The Thames Barrier is one of the largest
movable flood barriers in the world.
The Environment Agency runs and
maintains the Thames Barrier as well as
the capital's other flood defences.
The barrier spans 520 metres across the River Thames
near Woolwich, and it protects 125 square kilometres
of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges.
It became operational in 1982 and has 10 steel gates
that can be raised into position across the River
Thames. When raised, the main gates stand as high as
a five-storey building and as wide as the opening of
Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes.…read more

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· Cyclones are huge revolving storms caused
by winds blowing around a central area of
low atmospheric pressure.
When a cyclone is in action, the winds travel at
a speed of 34 knots, or 39 miles per hour. They
start blowing a clockwise direction in the
southern hemisphere, and then counter
clockwise direction in the northern
hemisphere. They usually follow the same
pattern. Cyclones are nothing but powerful
thunderstorms.…read more

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