Council ‘Taking Seriously’ The Coastal Flood Warning

porthcressa storm 3The Council has said it’s prepared for possible flooding in Scilly tomorrow after a severe warning was issued by the Environment Agency.

They’re predicting a ‘worst case scenario’, with a combination of gale-force south-westerly winds, spring tides of 6.1m and large waves.

Director of Place Craig Dryden says the Council is a member of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Resilience Forum (LRF), who will be coordinating the response between all the relevant agencies, including the emergency services and local authorities.

They’ve declared it a ‘major incident.’

Craig says the Council are “taking the warning seriously” and ensured that the drains have been cleared and the sewerage system is sound. Storm boards have also gone up at Porthcressa and Old Town.

He added that the Council does not have a statutory duty to provide sandbags and anyone whose property is prone to flooding should ensure they have their own flood defences in place, to protect their home or business as necessary.

They’ve stockpiled sandbags in Old Town, however, which can be used rapidly by the Council’s Direct Labour Force, who will be on call overnight if the situation worsens.

The latest forecast suggests that wave heights of 11m won’t peak until midday, past the morning high tide at 5.44am.

The next high tide in the evening could still present a danger if winds remain high though.

Craig rejected criticism that the Council had been slow to respond to the warnings, which were issued in the morning by the Environment Agency to allow people to prepare during daylight hours.

The Council sent out a press statement just before 5pm.

Craig said he came in especially from leave to attend to the situation and the teleconference meetings with the Resilience Forum only finished at 3.30pm, leaving little time for a response.

Emergency Planning Officer Rhona Holland says anyone who experiences flooding should contact the emergency services.

Even though flooding is possible on the off-islands, she says the highest risk is on St Mary’s because there are more low-lying properties there.

Residents can check whether they’re in an ‘at risk’ area on the Environment Agency’s flood maps, she says.

A rest centre has been prepared at the Sports Hall at Carn Gwaval should the need arise.

For more information on the flood risks and preparing for them are available on the Environment Agency’s website.