Wettest start for hundred years and more to come

Brede Valley Water
Brede Valley Water

THE Rye area has endured the wettest start to a year since January 1910

And a local meteorologist is warning there is more rain to come.

So far flood defences have held firm, though areas of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve have suffered damaged and water-filled pot-holes have been causing chaos on the roads.

Swathes of the Brede Valley have been under water with water encroaching on the main A28 .

David Powell, the 1066 Country meteorologist, has said there is no immediate end in sight for the deluge and high winds that have battered the area since mid-December.

January’s rainfall was more than double that of other wet winters with 167.8 millimetres falling. We have also had to deal with gales of up to 70 mph on the coast.

Mr Powell says the severe weather has been caused by an accelerated jet-stream which is stuck in the air above us.

He said: “A series of depressions are forming on the line between the warm and cold air and are being dragged along by the jet-stream.

“Warm air is being sucked up through the middle of the depression and cold air is pulled up underneath causing the wind around it to become stronger, that is why we are getting all these gales. As the warm air rises the more rain it creates.”

He says the severe weather is set to continue until at least the end of February until the jet-stream moves further north.

Colonel Anthony Kimber, who chairs Rye emergency response group REACT, responded to claims that the Environment Agency is not doing enough to maintain flood defences.

He said: “I am in regular touch with Environment Agency managers and can comment on the way I see the Agency handle flood risks around Rye. I know they are facing budget reductions and cuts to staff, matters which will be the subject of our future meetings with Agency managers.

“In our conversations we review the programme of sea/river defence works and other issues and we are always informed of the work programme. For our part we press for change of priorities where appropriate. Recently the Brede sluice has been renovated at huge cost and teams have been at full stretch managing the impacts of extreme weather and high tides. I was with operational teams on the night of the surge tide on 6 December and have seen the Agency just this weekend installing additional pumps to help remove excess water from Gibbet Marsh.

“REACT is due to have another meeting shortly to review longer term matters, including maintenance, which is vital to keep sound the Rye sea and river defences. We will be pressing for the latest situation. Where risks become apparent our policy is to Alert but not Alarm.

“I do know that in recent years, no water has entered homes in Rye.”