Saturday 31st January 1953, freak winds drove a storm tide surge
down the North Sea.
By evening this had reached the East coast of England where sea
defences were over-topped and damaged by the huge waves.
occurred in 1200 places resulting in disastrous floods and one of
the worst peace-time disasters ever comparable only to some
of the heaviest nights of the blitz.
damage was high - 307 people died, 24,000 homes were damaged or
destroyed, over 30,000 people were evacuated.
Island in Essex, with a population of over 11,000, was worst hit.
The whole island became underwater and 58 people died. Every single
house (mostly bungalows) was evacuated.
were financial implications as well -
£30 - £50 million worth of damage was caused (at 1953
- night of 31st Jan/1st Feb 1953 greatest peace time disaster
- great storm surge and gale force winds in North Sea
- sea wall defences smashed over 1000 miles of coastline
- defences breached in 1200 places
- 307 people lost their lives
- 32,000 evacuated from their homes
- 24,000 homes flooded and damaged
- factories along the Thames estuary were out of use for weeks
- water supplies contaminated and stopped
- roads impassable
- 200 miles of railway out of action
- 160,000 acres of agricultural land flooded with salt water
- huge livestock losses (over 46,000)
HAPPENED IN EAST SUFFOLK
- virtually no warnings were passed down the coast due to phone
lines down because of gales
- tide 8 ft above predicted levels
- 46 dead
- 20 seriously injured
- 220 homeless
- every river estuary/valley in the east affected, sometimes
to a depth of 10 feet
- sea overwhelmed grazing marshes of Deben, Orwell and Stour
- huge acreage's under water, especially Aldeburgh and Bawdsey
- salt water killed virtually everything, plants and animals,
years before earthworm seen again
- farmers given grants, land had to stand idle for three years,
gypsum put on soil