Thames Barrier to close tonight as forecasts predict the biggest storm surge for 30 years

Posted at 1:30 pm, December 5, 2013 in News
thames barrier

Okay, okay. Don’t panic. But the Thames Barrier will be closed tonight to protect London from a tidal storm surge that could be the highest for 30 years. The Environment Agency have upped their flood warning to the most severe for the Thames Estuary – meaning a serious risk to life (maybe time to panic a little?). Forecasters have warned that gale-force winds of up to 50mph, tidal surges and high tides could cause chaos across the east of the UK. So, probably best to cancel any plans you may have had to go kayaking through Greenwich this evening.

You might actually remember that it’s less than a month since we were anticipating a ‘Planet of the Apes’-esque apocalypse. The thing is, this time David Cameron has said there will a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee to discuss the response to the storm. And ‘Cobra’ is a pretty serious-sounding word. Check out these ominous-looking pink blobs on this image from MetDesk.

thames weather map

The storm is expected to move south during the course of the day and tonight, and sea levels could reach the heights seen during the devastating floods of 1953. Those floods left 307 people dead and 40,000 homeless. But it’s going to be okay! London’s Thames estuary defences mean the capital is well shielded, and there’s going to be another defence at Colne in Essex.

Elsewhere, high winds have shut the Emirates Air Line cable car, meaning alternative transport needed for its users. It’s been a big inconvenience for all four of themPeter Yeung

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