Saturday, 7 December 2013

Storm surge washes road away in Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

We'd heard that there was some significant damage in the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve due to Thursday night's storm surge, so we wandered down there at high tide today for a look... What's worth knowing is that this road was built in the 1940s and this is the first time the sea has ever come over it. That tells us something about the magnitude of this storm surge and the rise in sea levels over the past 60 years (about 10cm, or 4")...

DSC_7582 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

There's also a video that some of the staff took of it at high tide on Friday:


What seems to have happened is that the tide got high enough to wash over the top of the road and plunge over the other side - there are several points where there are holes created by the water:
DSC_7571 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

with the scoured shingle from under the road spread out beyond them:
DSC_7572 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

DSC_7574 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

But in some places the scouring went a bit further...
DSC_7580 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

One of the passing places has collapsed:
DSC_7575 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

DSC_7576 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

and in another area the scouring caused the whole road to cave in:
DSC_7585 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

this of course led to more scouring on the upstream side of the collapsed road:
DSC_7592 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

and then scenes like this:
DSC_7587 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

DSC_7589 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Parts of the road are now some distance away...
DSC_7590 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

and another slab is a bit lower than it used to be:
DSC_7583 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

The force of the water had also pushed the fence over and uncovered an electricity cable:
DSC_7579 Storm surge damage at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Part of me wishes I'd been there on Thursday night to watch it happen, but it probably wouldn't have been the safest place to be... Bizarrely I may have been the last person to cross this bit of road before it fell in, as I went for a night-time bike ride down there on Thursday evening (with some very bright LED lights) and crossed this part of the road at about 9:30pm - it would have caved in at about 1am.

Mike

6 comments:

Amanda said...

Mike, Thank you for graphic photos and comments re Rye Harbour Road & tidal surge. Had searched around in vain for info today (Saturday) on news sites and Wild Rye, etc. Nothing - so thanks, and also for the video. Appreciated! Regards, Amanda

Mike Pepler said...

Great, glad you liked them!

Anonymous said...

Also thanks for posting these - one of my favourite walks/rides and saw the flood defence workers marooned on a spring tide last year..have been hunting around for info.. wonder what cost the damage and who/how repairs will come about...






Mike Pepler said...

Yeah, was/is one of my favourite walks and bike rides too. Can still be walked, with a bit of mud, but you'd have to get off your bike now to get by!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Just to let you know that the road should be resurfaced and fully open by Sunday or Monday. Nick, the digger driver at Rye!

Mike Pepler said...

Great, thanks for all your hard work!