February 28, 2014
It is true we have had a lot of poor weather already this year, with storm after storm battering the UK, bringing winds speeds over 75 knots and biblical amounts of rain.
There has been flooding galore across the UK, bringing destruction and mayhem across the whole country.
The large amount of rainfall that we have had and for such a long period, means that the ground has been wet for prolonged periods; couple this with the high winds we have been having and it spells disaster for trees – below is a picture from A337 Southampton road heading uphill just out of Lymington towards Brockenhurst on 31st Jan 2014.
However, we think that the New Forest has been lucky in comparison to some areas of our beloved island nation, especially on the Somerset Levels and the Thames Valley. But there has been flooding on a localised scale around the New Forest, with certain routes closed for weeks. Generally the flood waters recede quickly; the picture below is Beaulieu, close to the National Motor Museum, showing the Beaulieu River just above Mill Dam flooding the B3056 on 1st Feb 2014. Quite often, spectacular skies and lighting ensues after the main front and this picture is an exquisite example.
The Environment agency did release a Red Warning flood alert for Friday 14th Feb for the Lymington to Keyhaven area.
During that evening the gusts increased to 78 knots/99 mph at Hurst Castle, this meant that people had to be rescued from their Valentines’ dinners at the Marine Restaurant in Milford as the restaurant became flooded with water and debris – some shingle, which shattered the windows. This restaurant is located on the beach at Milford on Sea just along the beach from Hurst Spit and Hurst Castle, which took the full force of the storm that night. Hurst Spit itself has been breached in several places.
This image shows what is left of Hurst Spit less than 12 hours after the 14th Feb Storm, taken from the eastern side with the yacht sailing on the Christchurch Bay side; earlier that day, the shingle bank was all at the elevated height of these few stacks left over the following morning.
The storm has also uncovered a number of unexploded bombs on Hurst Spit. Police sealed off the whole spit to carry out a full search of the area, after which Army bomb disposal teams carried out two controlled blasts to dispose of the ordnance that was found.
Around Berthon Lymington Marina.
We have been extremely fortunate during these winter storms at Berthon Lymington Marina, due to the sheltered position of the marina on the Lymington River, protection from the Isle of Wight and Hurst Spit, and the land between the Needles and the marina effectively slows the gusts somewhat; however, whilst some low level areas around Lymington were flooded temporarily, the flood defences built by Berthon in 1989 happily did their job. The images below show the height of C pontoon against the sea wall at high tide on the 14th Feb.
Nevertheless, there was minimal damage experienced in and around the marina, with only a few torn covers. Yachts ashore were checked by a vigilant boat moving team and Dockmasters remained on extended duty to ensure safety on the marina prevailed.
Above shows how high our pontoons were floating that night, against normal high-water springs on the right exactly two week later.
Further up the river at Lymington Quay, the flood defences were breached during Friday evening, but only a few local business were affected. The Environment Agency were joined by the Fire Service and Army units to help sandbag doorways and to man pumps.
The image below shows the Ship Inn at Lymington Town Quay; note the height of the water against the flood barrier in the foreground.
Below the Fire Service were drafted in to pump excess water back into the river just after high tide.
Further afield, this image is one that we just had to show you of The Cove House Inn, a Public House on Chiswell Beach, Portland, Dorset. It demonstrates perfectly what “a bit of weather” can do to the sea.
Images from Hurst Spit courtesy of Lymington Facebook