UK – Coastal Flooding in South West England After Storm Emma Hits

Coastal flooding has affected parts of south west England after high tides combined with strong winds and waves brought by Storm Emma.

As of 04 March there were 16 flood warnings and over 30 flood alerts in place. Most of the warnings were for Devon, Cornwall and Somerset in the South West. However, two warnings were in place for parts of the North Sea coast in Sunderland and Whitley Bay.

Flood warnings for England 04 March 2018. Image: Environment Agency

Flooding in the South West

Local media reported coastal flooding in Paignton, Torquay and Dawlish, where a railway line was flooded, disrupting the train service connecting Devon and Cornwall.

In Cornwall local authorities and fire services reported flooding in the villages of Flushing, Mevagissey and Porthallow.

Cornwall Council said via Social Media that “Fire and rescue crews, highways staff and police are currently dealing with reports of flooding in the Lizard area, caused by a combination of high tide, strong winds and run off from melting snow.

“The worst affected area is in Porthallow where five properties have been flooded”.

Wind Damage

Strong winds from Storm Emma also downed power lines, interrupting power supply. Power cuts were reported in central Wales, East Yorkshire as well as Devon and Cornwall where around 2,000 families were without electricity.

Thawing Ice and Snow

In some areas the flooding situation had been complicated further by thawing ice and snow. A weather system nicknamed the “Beast from the East” brought cold temperatures, heavy snowfall and ice from late February. Local media have blamed at least 10 deaths on the cold weather.

Tide Levels

Below are graphics from The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) indicating tide levels during Storm Emma for Newlyn (Cornwall), Plymouth (Devon), both in the South West of England, and also North Shields in the North East of England.

Newlyn, Cornwall tides during Storm Emma, March 2018. Image: The National Oceanography Centre (NOC)
Plymouth, Devon tides during Storm Emma, March 2018. Image: The National Oceanography Centre (NOC)
North Shields tides during Storm Emma, March 2018. Image: The National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

Flood Summary

Last updated: March 5, 2018
Storm Emma, UK March 2018
March 2, 2018
Coastal flood
Storm surge


A - Flushing
B - Mevagissey
C - Porthallow
D - Dawlish
E - Paignton
F - Torquay


Tidal elevation
6.3 metres
Newlyn, Cornwall - March 3 to March 3, 2018
Tidal elevation
6.3 metres
Plymouth, Devon - March 3 to March 3, 2018
Tidal elevation
5.4 metres
North Shields - March 3 to March 3, 2018


Buildings damaged
40 buildings
UK - March 2 to March 5, 2018
estimated figure