Swim wade or paddle, the people of Hythe, Romney Marshes, Rye and Hastings wanted to avoid of these summer pastimes during the bad weather of December and January. The low depression in December that caused a tidal surge that almost topped the defences in many places between Folkestone and Hastings. A large spring tide at the same time could easily have made the matter worse. Heavy rain and high winds closed many local roads and vast acreage on the Romney Marshes were flooded. Hythe High Street had standing water at one time and power cuts caused by the storms left people in New Romney, Woodchurch and many other places, without electricity over Christmas.
Into 2014, and still the rain falls, everywhere the ground is saturated and can take no more. The temperatures for this time of year were much too high and are bound to affect the food crops in the coming year. The East Coast of America was in the grip of a particularly cold spell in early January with 26 degrees of frost and up to 50 inches of snow. Bad weather on the East Coast of America usually makes its way over to the British Isles but it seems we escaped this time. But the strong winds continued, like a large sailing ship in full sail.
Our area has been lucky. So many folk to the west and north west of us have had much more rain and hundreds of properties have been flooded, some on more than one occasion through the months of December and January. Rye seems to have got away with it this time but if the present weather patterns continue it will only be a matter of time before disaster strikes. Preventative measures need to be taken. They tell us that Global Warming is to blame but back in 1966 there was a tidal surge even higher than the one experienced recently. That one fortunately came with 9’6″ high tide but it swelled it by a further 6′. It was high enough to flood Hinds Timber Yard and there would have been 3’6″ of water in the Heritage
Centre had it been built at the time.
As a result a plan was suggested to build a lock gate across the Rother. This was dismissed as a mad idea at the time but now it would serve a purpose like the Thames Barrier if constructed below Lime Kiln Cottage, where the last surge caused such mischief by washing the embankment and road away. Built from the sand dunes to the west then raised to the Harbour mouth, it would act as a dam and could be employed when tidal surges were predicted.
The Environment Agency tell us there is a good chance of flooding onto the Camber fields and oppose any new building there. If that is a genuine danger think how that would affect Rye. Had the last tide been 6″ higher it could have swamped many new builds on Winchelsea Road and overflowed into the Tillingham, which was already swollen to near maximum capacity, causing havoc up stream. A few millions spent now on a flood barrier may save many millions in compensation and much grief to home owners.
Workmen on their way home cut up this tree with a ‘hack saw’ near Appledore and cleared the road to Warehorn
From the February 2014
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