It’s November 2012, and after a dreadfully wet summer, an even wetter autumn, we’re heading into a sodden winter. The land is so soaked with water that it can no longer hold it and every time it rains the water just sits in the fields and meadows  puddles along the gutters and is barely coped with by the drains.

Driving home from Bristol today, I had to go through three-foot of water… scary…

 

Torrential rain

Somerset is a county of hills and levels, and traditionally the lowlands would flood every year. Drainage and land management has sought to control the water and sea defences to protect us from the sea. However, more and more houses are being built, and more and more of them are on flood plains… so right now, much of Somerset is flooded, and sadly, several people have lost their lives.

The sea looks so calm and harmless

However in 1607 a flood of disastrous proportions hit Somerset, Devon  in England and Carmarthenshire and Monmouthshire in Wales. There was a tidal which sent sea water 14 miles inland along the English coast, and devastated villages and communities on both sides of the Bristol Channel. it is estimated that  200 square miles of farmland was inundated, livestock and people swept away. Uphill, where we live would have been totally immersed.

Descriptions of what happened written at the time, talk of the sea receding and then a huge wall of water with sparks flying off the crest, racing across the land, faster than a man could run. We are used to having very high tides along this coast – the Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal flow in the world, if a high tide is influenced by the full moon, or if there is a tidal surge, if there is a strong on-shore wind, if there is a heavy rainfall swelling the rivers and waterways, then flooding occurs… but  the sea receding, a wall of water travelling faster than a running man? Does that sound like a tsunami to you? A tsunami in 1607 in Somerset?

1607

9 thoughts on “Floods

  1. Watching tv over the weekend I had been wondering whether where you live had suffered as I had seen so much in Somerset. Very interesting what you have written about the 1607 flood, but on Sunday night’s Countryfile they had a big piece on a flood in the eighteenth century, documented by Daniel Defoe, but didn’t mention this earlier one.

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    • I caught the end of that… in 2007 there was a lot of local programmes on the anniversary of the flood, there was one which had a modern photo taken from the hill overlooking our village with an image superimposed as if it was flooded to the same 1607 level… terrifying! I think we’d be ok sitting on our roof! We have actually made a flood plan…

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  2. Young lady I don’t like that driving through three feet of water business! Down here in Texas, where we have lots of flash floods, there is a public safety campaign called “turn around don’t drown.” THIS MEANS YOU LOIS! Very dangerous taking that chance. I’ve done it too, through rushing water, and won’t do it again. I say this from a place of love and affection for you! The car can float off in less than a foot of water if situation is right. Please no!

    Now..that historical tsunami…whoa! It’s the exact description! I got chills when I read it. Those poor folk. At least now we have some knowledge and ability to plan for these things.

    PS Please send all the rain you can here to Texas, my soil is so hard and packed I can sweep it like concrete.
    love
    xoxo

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    • Oh you are so sweet, thanks for your stern words – you are quite right, and I certainly WILL NOT do it again! I’m right this instant doing a little spell to send some of our Uphill rain to Texas, but only the best sweetest, purest to nourish your concrete!
      Love love
      xxxx

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  3. I agree with Jena! Some dreadful situations come about with cars in water. When we were young and driving between Alice Springs and Adelaide on unsealed roads, Dad used to tip us out of the car to walk in the puddles to check the depth. He said if we disappeared he wouldn’t drive through. Not funny in the current context however. It almost sounds as though you could grow rice in your part of the world Lois. Love the images you have posted here.

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    • Oh thanks! yes, I won’t be doing that again… very foolish but I was in a line of other vehicles and there was easily accessible places on either side of the road… still stupid, and I promise it won’t be repeated!

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