This picture taken not one hour since by Cromer resident Spencer Gray and posted on Twitter (@spenny10) shows the proximal end of Cromer Pier getting a thorough battering in a lethal combo of high winds and high tides not seen in these parts since 1953.
What’s happening at the distal end is less clear. You can see lights on at the Pavilion Theatre, and the lifeboat station beyond.
I haven’t been down there myself – and I don’t plan to – but the news is that around 70 ft of the sea walls on the West Beach promenade have been breached, with the snack bar and possibly the local amusement arcade and beach huts reduced to matchwood or simply vanished. I don’t know the situation on the East Beach – my usual stamping grounds – but a much less severe storm surge a couple of years back removed beach huts as if they had never been. The North Sea might look meek and mild and – well – ordinary, but you don’t mess with the power of the sea. Beach huts are more than garden sheds: they are very securely built and anchored to the underlying concrete by substantial chains. And yet the sea can wipe them out as one might swat a fly.
Notwithstanding inasmuch as which Cromer looks like it’ll get off relatively lightly compared with more flood-prone areas to the west (Wells-next-the Sea) and east (Walcott, Yarmouth, Gorleston, Lowestoft). I believe that Hemsby’s lifeboat station has been washed away. High tide, just before 8pm, was 5.3m, which is a lot. And there are a couple more such high tides to come, which, combined with windy weather, could still pack a punch. As Mrs Crox has just reminded me, tomorrow would probably be not a good day to take the dogs to the beach.
Thanks, everyone, for their good wishes. Although we’re less than a mile from the sea, Cromer is itself quite hilly for Norfolk, and the Maison des Girrafes it itself 55 metres above sea level. So although it’s a bit breezy, it would take an apocalypse indeed for us to be inundated by the sea. We’re snuggled up inside watching DVDs of Dr Who and The Hobbit.
UPDATE: The Morning After. To reassure the many people who have very kindly asked after our welfare – we’re fine, thank you! I haven’t been down to the seafront (yet) though FB updates from friends and the local news reports extensive damage . I believe the Pier is closed pending reports from engineers. Cromer got off lightly compared with some places. Over at Hemsby, near Yarmouth, houses were washed away.