Yesterday evening I received a flood alert from the Environment Agency warning that flooding was possible in Wells due to a big tide and other environmental conditions. So, this morning I’ve come down to the studio early to check that everything is ok. I didn’t bother to put up the flood gates last night, even though the flood alert was upgraded to a flood warning, because the Environment Agency advice was for a peak of 3.91m. I don’t normally worry unless is reaches over 4.1m.
Today there’s a northerly wind and in certain circumstances a strong north wind can push the tide further in than normal (hence the flood warning), so it is worth just coming out to make sure everything is alright. At the moment, the north wind is calm, about 10 knots, there are a few clouds in the sky and sun, and it’s quite chilly. Autumn has definitely arrived.
It’s about 40 minutes before high tide and the water is rushing in (the sea moves in or out the most an hour before and after high or low tide). The surface of the water is disturbed rather than wavy. Small eddies ripple at the back end of boats and buoys as the flow of water is broken. Just in front of me small whirlpools erupt as the water passes a jutting brick wall and a piece of bladderwrack gets caught in a current and whirls round. Foam on the surface of the water marks the pace of the incoming tide, and it’s moving fast.
20 minutes before high tide and the water hasn’t reached the top of the quay wall just outside the studio. It may just top it – but I doubt it. Luckily the studio is raised about 1m above the lip of the wall so it would have to be a huge surge to inundate it. The last time that happened was in 2013 and there is a mark on the wall to show where the tide reached on that day. It is about 1.75m above where the water is today.
Further along the quay the flood gate has been rolled across the road as a precaution, and water has topped the quay covering the carpark with a slow seep rather than a rush.
Here, there is a continuous splashing, slapping, and gurgling as water hits the wall. It is a benign sound and if I close my eyes, it is soothing rather than threatening.
There is no worry here today and as it is now past the peak of the tide, I make my way home for a cup of tea.