Boscastle floods GeogOnline

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       Location of Boscastle
                                                                                     Boscastle is a picturesque, rural village, and is
                                                                                     popular with tourists. It is located on the
                                                                                     northern coast of Cornwall, in the far South
                                                                                     West of England. Boscastle is approximately
                                                                                     80 miles and 45km from the nearest large
                                                                                     urban area, Plymouth. The village has two
                                                                                     rivers meeting there, Valency and Jordan,
                                                                                     which come from the high hills of Bodmin
                                                                                     Moor. These rivers are the main cause of the
                                                                                     flood. The nearest main road to Boscastle is
                                                                                     the A39 .
          Causes of the Boscastle Flood
    Many things caused this flood, which is why it was so disastrous. First of
    all, the rain. 600 mms of rain fell in just two hours, and that’s a whole
    months worth! The storm clouds in the sky above the Cornish coast were
    extremely huge, and the clouds were localised to Boscastle. The flood was
    also caused by the valley shape. The valleys of the rivers Valency and
    Jordan are extremely steep, and the valleys are so narrow, they funnel
    the water down to Boscastle extremely quickly, which also made the flood
    worse. Both rivers have their sources in the high hills of Bodmin Moor,
    where relief rainfall occurs. The highest point on Bodmin Moor is 420
    metres, which increases the speed of the rivers flowing downhill. The
    rocks of Boscastle and the surrounding region are impermeable, like slate
    and granite, which means the rivers cannot sink far into the ground,
    causing much more water to overflow. And finally, humans must not build
    on flood plains! Boscastle is on a flood plain near the sea, and it is located    The village had two rivers meeting in it; This helped the flooding,
    where two rivers with narrow valleys converge. So it is partly the fault of       and made matters worse
    the people for living there.
The Effects of the Flood
 The flood occurred on the 16th of August 2004, and coincidentally, there
 was one on exactly the same day, but 52 years earlier, in Lynmouth, on
 the North Devon Coast (very near to Boscastle). The effects of the
 Lynmouth flood were devastating, but the Boscastle flood was less
 serious. It was a calm, peaceful day At Boscastle, until the rain came
 tipping down at four o’clock pm, and the rivers Jordan and Valency
 burst there banks, causing floodwaters to spread throughout the
 village. Approximately 1000 residents and tourists were affected in the
 Boscastle flood, and the only casualty was a broken thumb! There were             Cars were among the damaged property
 no deaths at all, like there had been at Lynmouth. 58 properties were             destroyed by the flood
 severely flooded, 84 damaged cars were recovered from the harbour
 and lots of household furniture and possessions were washed away to
 sea. Up to 100 people, especially the elderly, were rescued and airlifted
 by seven helicopters. The Cornwall County Fire Brigade remained at
 Boscastle for seven days. A bridge was damaged, and the rivers had
 totally covered it, allowing cars and other objects to float over it. The
 severe damage to buildings and properties cost up to £2 million to
 rebuild. A lot of trees were also uprooted, which could lead to more
 flooding, as trees prevent it. People became homeless, and had to camp            The bridge at Boscastle
 out in the nearby leisure centre. The village was badly scarred by this
 freak disaster, and jobs and businesses were lost, such as hotel
 managing. The village contained many historic buildings and pleasant
 Cornish gift shops, but all were damaged and taken away by the flood.
 Peoples lives will be forever scarred because of this natural disaster.


   What can be done to prevent future disasters like this?
The Boscastle flood was a natural disaster, and people cannot stop natural disasters from happening. But, people can make them
less serious, by a number of ways. The river Jordan has a new culvert, extending 80m into the River Valency. This was done by the
Environment Agency. Apart from that, not much else has been done to help prevent future flooding, except people are more aware.
This flood is predicted to be a once in a 400 year event, so people remain fairly relaxed about it, even though there is a possible
risk. However, there are possible ways which the village of Boscastle could try to tame future flooding. The channels of the rivers
Valency and Jordan could be widened and deepened, to increase the capacity of the river. But this would mean dredging the
riverbed, a problem for wildlife. In order to increase evapotranspiration, more trees should be planted. This reduces the amount of
water that goes into the river, because the trees absorb the water. A very huge safety measure could be taken into action, but this
has to be thought about carefully. A dam. This controls the flow of the water in the upper course, which reduces flooding. But for
now, Boscastle is being recovered, and people are more concerned about restoring their village. They can think about taking action
for future flooding after this.

				
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posted:3/17/2011
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