ONE of the highest tides in living memory put homes and businesses at risk last week and submerged Strand Quay.
The tidal surge of 39 knots passing through Rye Bay also caused damage to parts of Rye Harbour and the Nature Reserve.
The waters hit on Thursday night into the early hours of Friday morning.
Colonel Anthony Kimber, chairman of Rye emergency group REACT, said: “The waters rose very high but thankfully the flood defence wall held, other than a little seepage.
“My team remained in contact with Rother District Council officers and the Environment Agency to keep an eye on developments in the Rye area.
“At around 1am on 6 December the tide was still rising at Strand Quay. The gauge opposite the Riverhaven, read 5.1ft before the water went slack and started to recede. The Environment Agency confirms this as the highest recorded reading in years
“At its peak the water rose about half way up the river defence walls at the Strand and apart from some seepage through one or two weak spots, including on the road corner opposite the Strand sluice, the system held.
Environment Agency teams had already closed the watertight flood doors in the access breaks in the wall and were then moving between these to make checks.
Unprecedented levels were seen in the Rock Channel, where some workshops and garages to the river side of the defences took in water. The basements of the houses at Rock Channel Quay also flooded. With levels so high on the Rother, one retired priest crossing the Monkbretton Bridge described the experience as like “walking on water”.
On the Nature Reserve, south of the Old Kiln Cottage the tide eroded a bank and collapsed a length of the riverside pathway. The cottage was also partially flooded.
Colonel Kimber said: “It is clear that in these times of budget cuts, maintenance of the key parts of the defence infrastructure is vital.”