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A Case Study of the Boscastle Floods

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Introduction

The Boscastle Floods Where? Boscastle is in North Cornwall, in the South West of England. A small seaside town, it faces out onto the Atlantic Ocean. What? Flash floods hit the town on Monday 16th August 2004 in a 1 in 50 year occurrence. This caused 120mm of rain in 7 hours, twice the monthly average and causing the river to rise 8/9 feet. Understandably the river broke its banks, flooding Boscastle severely. Causes? The main cause was quite simply the fact that there was a lot of rain. 120mm of it in fact. Seeing as it had been raining for a few weeks before, saturating the ground, the water had nowhere to go but down the 2 steep valleys surrounding the village into the river. ...read more.

Middle

The amazing rush of water coupled with cars acting as out of control cannon balls, caused homes and businesses to be knocked down or washed away. One 16th century building was completely destroyed by a run away camper van. Water rushed easily into homes, destroying everything inside. With the main road turned into a river, the tarmac was destroyed, likewise bridges and signs etc. Although resembling something like a production from the Doctor Who Special Effects team, miraculously nobody was hurt or killed, probably because of the event happening in the day, unlike the Lynmouth flood in Devon 52 years to the day which took the lives of 34 people. They also have the emergency services to thank, who rescued 120 people, many of whom scrambled onto their roofs. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, small reduction methods could be made such as deepening the river so it can hold more water. The material dug out can be used to create embankments to further deepen it. The course of the rivers could be changed, such as straightening them to make the water reach the sea faster without so many meanders to turn round. The river could be pumped underground in large pipes, although Boscastle would lose the river, which is one of the tourist appeals of the place. The authorities have actually spent �0.8m on widening and lowering the river Valency. They've also put a relief channel underground which can take water away from the river when there is a lot of rainfall. Finally, they've inserted a tree catcher so trees cannot create dams downstream if washed into the river. ...read more.

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