2 Lynmouth Floods 1952 A flash flood! Was this natural disaster made worse by human activity?What lessons can be learned from the disaster?
3 Where is Lynmouth? Location: Country: United Kingdom Region: South West EnglandCounty: DevonA small coastal town , Lynmouth is located in steep-side narrow valley at the confluence of two rivers – the East Lyn and the West Lyn.
4 What caused the flood?CausesMeteorologyTopographyHuman Activity
6 What caused the flood? Meteorology -The Weather weather on line Combination of factors:Dry summer up to early AugustPeriod of heavy rain leading up to Aug 15thExtreme rainfall event on August 15thweather on lineImage from BBC Devon
7 The WeatherLow pressure system centred over the South Devon/Dorset coastA zone of warm damp air produced heavy thunderstorms during afternoon of Aug 15thLate evening – the Low moved east & caused a rapid movement of cold air to force its way up the northern slope of Exmoor.This cold air shunted the already unstable air upwards, accelerating uplift -chilling of damp air and produced violent downpour!
9 Early Afternoon Thunderstorms – unstable warm air rising Exmoor – warm ground
10 August 15th 1952 Late Afternoon Wedge of Cold Airforces warm air upwardsRapid ChillingRapid CondensationMassive downpourSaturated groundRUN-OFF
11 Rainfall in August 1952Graph shows rainfall in the 2 days leading up to the disaster.Peaks at 5pm on the 15th and 9pm on the 16th August230mms of rain in 14 hrs!
12 Rainfall on 15 August 1952The map opposite shows the area of maximum rainfallNotice:Over 204mm on Longstone Barrow & ‘The Chains’ – area of moorland we visitedNumerous tributaries feed East and West Lyn RiversRivers meet (confluence) at LynmouthFigure from ‘Lyn in Flood’, Keene & Elsom, Oxford Brookes Univ.1990
13 What caused the flood? Relief /Topography – the shape of the land The Lyn Valleys are both narrow and steep sidedThe rivers drop steeply from the moors of ExmoorBoth rivers meet at the end of the ‘drop’ at LynmouthImage from Google Earth
14 What caused the flood? Relief /Soils The black, peaty, soils on Exmoor are very thin.The heavy rain in August meant that they became saturated.The rain falling on Aug 15th could not be absorbed by the soil and simply ran off, carrying the soil with it.The Moors (taken 4 Sept 2009)
15 The East Lyn Valley – our walk! Technocentric bridgeEcocentric bridgeWatersmeetNotice the tight contours in the valley – evidence of steep slopes!Drop off pointExtract from Lynton Lynmouth Walking Map.
17 A Raging Flood in two confined valleys! 13.6 million cubic meters of water fell on the drainage basin of the East and West Lyn Rivers.The water surged down the valleys picking up boulders weighing 50 tonnes.Rivers carried huge volume of soil from moorsTrees swept into riversBridges formed natural dams – when they gave way a 12 meter high wall of water thundered through the town of Lynmouth.BBC reportPathe Newsreel
18 How did Lynmouth Change? Look the this map of Lynmouth as it was before the flood.
19 Both river beds widened and deepened. This is Lynmouth todayChanges made to the town.Both river beds widened and deepened.Soak-away areas built into river channelBanks strengthened and reinforcedBridges designed to allow flow of much larger volumes of water.Buildings in high risk areas not replaced or demolished
20 Bridges – Ecocentric or Technocentric? Which bridge is designed to easily wash away and which is designed to resist a flood?
21 A very similar event! Boscastle Flood 2004 Video News Reportd