Why did flooding happen?
WHAT caused the flood?
On Saturday, January 31, 1953, a great storm moved down the east coast of Scotland into the North Sea.
This storm, known as a weather system, is called a depression, also referred to as low pressure.
At its centre, the depression of 1953 reached an exceptionally low 966 millibars.
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On its own, a depression can cause the sea level to rise, but what took place in 1953 was a series of events. Strong winds held back the sea and combined with the lowering pressure causing the level of the sea to rise to about 2m above its normal level. Unfortunately, this happened at the same time as one on the year's highest spring tides.
This had the effect of increasing the height of the waves by a further 4.9m. Until this point, Lincolnshire's sea defences managed to hold back the rising water until the spring tide (surge) arrived, at about 5pm.
In more than one sense this was a natural disaster. The unusual weather system, higher spring tides combined to produce a sea that quickly overpowered the sea defences that protected the land from large, high waves.