Storms and Protecting Yourself from Flooding

In April 2024 Storm Pierrick collided with spring tides to create extreme coastal conditions across our region.

The stormy conditions created an intense storm surge during a spring tide cycle when tides were higher than usual. This led to some locations across our region experiencing the highest tide levels ever recorded. In isolated areas, it led to property and infrastructure flooding across the 246 km of coastline that we manage.

Based on technical data, the effects of storm Pierrick were that the still water level created a 1 in 75 year event. This led to the effects being a lot worse for low-lying sheltered harbour areas where still water level has the biggest impact. 

Map highlights observed and modelled flooding across our region in April 2024 Map highlights observed and modelled flooding across our region in April 2024
Map highlights observed and modelled flooding across our region in April 2024

Records Broken

The high tide reached 5.74m Chart Datum, which is the highest level recorded at one Portsmouth tide gauge since its operation in the 1960s. Alongside the high spring tides, the area received significant wave heights of 2.1m and a spike in peak wave height of 4.4m one hour after high tide, measured by the National Network of Regional Monitoring Programme’s Hayling wave buoy. There was also a short period of swell waves which peaked at 16 seconds, one hour after high tide and a wind speed that was recorded at 45 knots in Chichester Harbour.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support

Experiencing a flood can be frightening, and it can disrupt your daily life activities. It’s important not to underestimate the stress and strain of being flooded, having to move from your home, or cleaning up after a flood. Take the time to consider you and your loved ones’ mental health and wellbeing.

There are numerous local community support groups, or neighbours to help you cope and recover.

  • Find a range of free, trusted local and national support at Mental Wellbeing Hampshire
  • Visit Citizens Advice Hampshire to find your local branch or call 0800 144 88 48
  • Havant and East Hants MindSolent Mind (covers Havant, Gosport, Fareham, Winchester, Eastleigh, East Hampshire and New Forest), and Andover Mind (covers Test Valley, Basingstoke, Hart, Rushmoor) offer a range of free wellbeing services across Hampshire 
  • Contact your local branch of the Samaritans or call for free, 116123
  • Shout provides a free 24/7 text crisis support service, to start a conversation, just text the word ‘HANTS’ to 85258. It is a confidential, anonymous service
  • For mental health crisis support including your nearest Safe Haven visit Help in a Crisis
  • You can contact NHS 111 to seek medical or mental health help right now or, if your need is life threatening, please call 999

Our best wishes are with those affected by and recovering from the significant flooding which damaged homes, property and business. It was the highest ever recorded tide for this area and we continue to work tirelessly to manage the flood and erosion risk to our communities.   

Flood Defences in Action

Despite the extreme conditions, many flood protection measures across our region held up to the storm and did exactly what they were designed to do.

The South Hayling Beach Management Plan protected hundreds of homes along the Eastoke front. Before these measures were put in place, floods frequently occurred in Eastoke. 

New sea defences in North Portsea and Southsea were also tested by the record sea levels and performed extremely well in keeping communities safe. 

Storm Pierrick highlighted the importance of the flood management schemes we have in place and those in development. Over time the implementation of the new schemes will add further protection to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

The Future 

The past century has seen a rise in sea levels and storminess. The effects continue to put more than 1.9 million people in England at risk of coastal erosion and flooding.

Conditions experienced on the 9th of April broke records in many areas. Using Portsmouth as an example and Environment Agency sea level rise guidance, in approximately 70 years, with estimated sea level rise, the high tide experienced will become the ‘normal’ highest astronomical tide.

In approximately 100 years, the same high tide will become the ‘normal’ mean high water spring tide.

Coastal Flooding Who’s Responsible?

When there is coastal flooding, several organisations and individuals have a responsibility to act.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has the overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk management in England.

Under the Coast Protection Act 1949 and Land Drainage Act 1991 Local Authorities and the Environment Agency have permissive powers to carry out work to reduce the risk of erosion and flooding by the sea. Despite this, it is not a legal obligation for Local Authorities to carry out coastal protection work.

The Local Authority delivers coastal protection projects using permissive powers where it is in the public interest. The proposed works must provide:

  • A clear economic benefit.
  • A practical engineering solution that can be achieved.
  • A solution that meets Environmental legislation.

Private land-owners have ultimate responsibility for protecting their property from flooding and erosion. They must act within statutory planning regulations and other applicable legislation.

Protecting yourself and your home

For information on what to do after a flood please visit our Flood Protection page and UK Health Security Agency advice.

The Environment Agency provides Flood Warnings for the UK. Sign up for them here.