Thames Barrier closes in London river flood alert

THE Thames Barrier was closed yesterday (Sunday) to protect London from a combined high tide and tidal surge in the estuary. Current weather patterns were showing “a substantial surge event in the North Sea” with large waves a possibility in exposed areas

By Mike Brooke

THE Thames Barrier was closed yesterday (Sunday) to protect London from a combined high tide and tidal surge in the estuary.

Current weather patterns were showing “a substantial surge event in the North Sea” with large waves a possibility in exposed areas on Sunday and Monday, the Environment Agency said.

High tides were expected to result in a 2ft surge on top of the high tide, enough to cause flooding in low-lying areas of East London without the barrier protection.

The Agency had 18 current flood watch’ alerts in force at the weekend across London, Surrey, Berkshire, Hertfordshire (River Lea tributary) , Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley.

The Thames Barrier opened again at 3pm yesterday, with the Agency continuing to monitor the weather, river levels and tides closely.

The barrier closure is a standard procedure when high spring tides combine with high flows in the river from heavy rain. It was the 115th time the barrier was closed.

Details on flood warnings are found on the Environment Agency’s website. Local river level information is on the agency’s Floodline: 0845-9881188.