18th February: Storm Eunice

For storm Eunice on 18th February 2022, a Flood Alert for a maximum water level of 5.37m had been issued by the Environment Agency and this was followed by a Red Warning for wind from the Met Office. In the event, the wind materialised but the flood did not!

When not busy tying things up I filmed the state of the river and created a video. Here is a rough sequence of events, the times are when the photos were taken:

10:16 The first 30kt wind gusts came through just before 9am. Looking out from my bedroom window the perspex “igloo” at the airBnB next door was still standing but dented. I started filming on the jetty at about 10:25 by which time the winds were gusting 40 kts.

10:38 Just after a major gust came through (captured on the video) which caused on of the Wayfarers to come adrift. My Seafly also broke it bow line and snapped the (cheap) carabiner securing the stern line. It was secured by the chain to the forestay fitting with the stern drifted out between the piles at the end of the 86/88 jetty. By crawling on my pontoon to avoid being blown off, I managed to get a new rope around the thwart to hold the Seafly and take the strain off the chain. Waves were breaking over the pontoon so I got soaked in the process!

10:39 The wind had collapsed the perspex “igloo”. Some young Belgian guys just arrived at the airBnB rescued the furniture at some risk to themselves. Soon after I saw that the fender board had come detached from Seatern at the forward end. Despite the wind pressing Seatern against the jetty the wave induced motion was enough for me to manage to reattach the fender board. Seatern had suffered a but of abrasion to the toe rail but otherwise seemed OK.

11:50 The Woolston tide gauge recorded a peak 5.25m CD at 1130, not the forecast 5.37m. Given the forecast surge was 0.8m and the astronomical tide height (from MrTides) was 5.47m, I wonder if the EA made a mistake in adding one to the other? Anyway, there was no flooding in the road so the wind was the only hazard to contend with.

13:58 The lowest pressure was at around 11:20 and the wind started to veer from SW becoming west by 13:00. As a result winds and waves at the jetty decreased due to the sheltering of the houses and the shorter river fetch. The sky cleared and there was some sunshine. While there had been no rain earlier, there was one or two light showers during the afternoon. However my rain gauge had been recording lots of “rain” due to the wind vibrating the mounting pole and tripping the contact switch.

14:05 Although it was sheltered at my jetty, there were clearly still strong gusts out on the river which were raising plumes of spindrift. The tide was now going down and I took the opportunity to moor my seafly properly with some better rope than before.

Below are the weather plots from my jetty weather station.