Here comes highest tide for 50 years

Morecambe is expected to see its biggest tides for 50 years.
Morecambe is expected to see its biggest tides for 50 years.
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Morecambe will be battered by its highest tide in half a century right in the middle of repairs to its flood defences.

Tidal experts predict water levels at Heysham will reach a height of 10.79m on September 30.

But Lancaster City Council has assured residents it is ready to cope with the massive tidal surge.

Many coastal towns, including Morecambe, will experience their highest tides for decades around September 29 and 30 of this year, the National Oceanography Centre has revealed.

The unusually high tides are due to a very slow change in the moon’s orbit, claim scientists.

The news comes as the council prepares to begin a £10m restoration of the sea wall on Morecambe promenade.

Andrew Dobson, chief officer (regeneration and planning) at Lancaster City Council, said: “The level of Morecambe Promenade is around 1.14m above the highest astronomic tide level which we will experience in September.

“It would take a large surge coupled with strong south-westerly or westerly winds in order for there to be any significant impacts on the frontage even from a tide of this magnitude.

“If high pressure is dominating during this period and there are no strong winds, we do not envisage Morecambe experiencing any problems.”

The sea wall was built after Morecambe homes and businesses were damaged by floods in the 1980s. The first phase of repairs, on the section of wall from Happy Mount Park to Lord Street, is due to begin shortly and will continue for 18 months.

Mr Dobson said: “Flood risk during construction has been fully considered and will be properly managed. Any sections of the wave reflection wall which have been removed or are being constructed will be protected with the installation of temporary defences when high tides are predicted.”

Tide levels at Heysham have risen by 0.53m over the past eight years, according to National Oceanography Centre data.

Professor Kevin Horsburgh, from the centre, said: “The September tide may not be the highest tide of all-time, but it could be the highest in 40-50 years. Tides are governed by astronomy. The reason the big tides are in September is because of the equinox, when the moon is directly over the Equator. That’s quite close to when the moon is closest to the Earth.”

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency issued a flood alert for the North Morecambe Bay coastline yesterday.