Storm Events Floods Case Study (Weather and Climate AQA)

Weather and Climate - storm events case study december/january2013/2014 + Great Strom 1987 + 2004 Bostcastle Flooding

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Somerset Flooding

5,800 properties have flooded due to the storm with particular focus in Somerset

As 1/5th of UK's farmland is in Somerset it has large economic and social consequences

90% of Moor Farm in Somerset had been flooded 

  • reduced size of cattle
  • up to 13ft of flood water - still remained there for months after the floods

Flooding also in capital and Greater London - this is unsusual showing how severe the storm was 

  • The North Sea had the biggest storm surge in 60 years
  • Staines upon thames flooded 
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Economic Impacts

2013/2014 Floods

  • Boe predicted floding will knowck off economic growth due to angriculture damage and high costs for re building infrastructure 

Boscastle Floods

  • 90% of Bostcastle's economoy depends on tourism 
  • the floods coccured in August so the whohle tourist seasn was ruined
  • Infrasturcture repairs costs the council £2million

Great Storm 1987

Insurnce payemtns amounted to £1.4billion

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Great Storm 1987

Depression started in the Bay of Biscay - MET office recently lost weather ships there due to budget cuts

On 15th Oct air pressure fell from 970 - 953mb well below the UK average of 1013mb

Michael Fish (BBC news) famously mis-read the forecast confirming that 'no storm was going to hit the UK' but he was referring to the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd that hit USA

Storm events during the 1960-70's were relatively infrequent hence a strom event was not in living memory so public perception of the danger was low

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Social impacts

Great Storm

  • 18 deaths 
  • 150,000 houselholds without telehone communication or power 
  • Several hundred thousand people lost electricity for more than 24hrs


  • 58,000 homes flooded 
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Environmental Impacts

1987 Great Storm

  • In Toy Hills, Kent 97% of trees were lost
  • Loss of biodiversity and habitats
  • In the long term there were some benefits as the removed canopies allowing natrual light to get thourgh and studies show that this has led to richer biodiverity in the Toy Hill area
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Political Consequences

2013/2014 Storms

  • Government blaming the EU from not dredging the river
  • EA blaming government for not funding
  • Government admitted thay should have 'acted faster' 
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Management of the Great Storm

  • Recently lost ships in the Bay of Biscay due to lack of fundings
  • BBC bews presenter Michael Fish incorrectly warned the UK that 'not storm was coming'
  • monitoring system was not up-to-date hence they were only reading the aftermath of the Hurricane Floyd
  • People underestimated the storm leading to many car accidents since pople believed the storm was not threatening
  • 20% increases in houses were affected due to their location surrounding their floodplain - similar problems in 2013/3014 flood

Long term

  • Flood warnings issued that were too late, after the prime news
  • London Fire Brigade and military troops ready to be deplyed
  • investment into stormmodelling system - successful as storm was predicted in 2013/2014
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Management of 2013/2014 floods

  • 8000 troops deployed
  • 30,000 sandbags distributed in Berkshire and Surrey
  • Thames Barrier protected 1 million people and prtected £260bn worth of property
  • 15% of the london floodplain is occupied by properties thus thames barrier protected them
  • EA admitted they were not prepared for a 2 month storm event#
  • government put aside more funding for flood defences
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