, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 829-854
Date: 26 Feb 2013

Understanding a coastal flood event: the 10th March 2008 storm surge event in the Solent, UK

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Extreme sea-level events (e.g. caused by storm surges) can cause coastal flooding, and considerable disruption and damage. To understand the impacts or hazards expected by different sea levels, waves and defence failures, it is useful to monitor and analyse coastal flood events, including generating numerical simulations of floodplain inundation. Ideally, any such modelling should be calibrated and validated using information recorded during real events, which can also add plausibility to synthetic flood event simulations. However, such data are rarely compiled for coastal floods. This paper demonstrates the capture of such a flood event dataset, and its integration with defence and floodplain modelling to reconstruct, archive and better understand the regional impacts of the event. The case-study event comprised a significant storm surge, high tide and waves in the English Channel on 10 March 2008, which resulted in flooding in at least 37 distinct areas across the Solent, UK (mainly due to overflow and outflanking of defences). The land area flooded may have exceeded 7 km2, with the breaching of a shingle barrier at Selsey contributing to up to 90 % of this area. Whilst sea floods are common in the Solent, this is the first regional dataset on flood extent. The compilation of data for the validation of coastal inundation modelling is discussed, and the implications for the analysis of future coastal flooding threats to population, business and infrastructure in the region.