Flooding in an MEDC - Boscastle

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Boscastle is in Cornwall, UK, located near the coast, in a hilly are with lots of valleys. There is a
river running through the middle of Boscastle, which was the canalization of other rivers
funnelled by the steep sloped valleys.
On the 16th of August 2004 Boscastle woke up a nice day. By 12:15 there were dark clouds
visible. By 12:30 the rain started. By 15:30 the river flooded. By 17:00 the floods peaked.
There had been a very wet summer, so the ground was saturated. From America, Hurricane Alex's storm clouds had moved
across the Atlantic Ocean. By the time they had come to a standstill they were full of water, as the hot air had collected water
from the Atlantic through evaporation. When the clouds started to precipitate the rain was torrential. It rushed down the
slopes, as it could not infiltrate the saturated soil. The surface run-off was fast due to the steep slopes and the lack of
vegetation, reducing interception. The rivers flooded after 3 hours and the
rivers rose by 2 metres in 1 hour.
3m of water flowed through Boscastle at 64kmph at 16:30. The river burst its
banks due to the large volume of water and the village's bridge was not big
enough to let the water through. This made the water back up and start
flooding. The water could not drain properly thanks to the impermeable
surfaces, such as tarmac and concrete, and the poor drainage systems.
Over 100 cares were swept down to the bottom of the harbour along with a lot
of debris. 50 houses and buildings were flood damaged, destroying 25 businesses
including the visitor centre. Pavements and gardens were damaged by the
sheer weight of water and 4 footbridges were washed away. £20 million wars
paid out by insurance companies, but no sum could buy away the stress and
anxiety caused by the floods. Thousands of tonnes of mud and debris was left
behind when the water receded, also revealing the immense damage to bridges
and roads. The economy of the area was damaged heavily, because 90% of the
income is from tourism. Tourists will now be deterred by the flood damage and
the high flood risk.
There was a massive aerial rescue operation, as no land rescue could be carried out ­ it was the largest peacetime rescue in
Britain's history. A £4.6 million flood defence scheme was carried out, which aimed to preserve the character of the village.
The main features are shown in the
picture (right). Other features include:
vegetation growth, enlarged bridges
and river widening.


Mr A Gibson

Such a good example of how to complete a case study on one of the most commonly used examples of a flood in the UK - Boscastle.

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