On the 16th August , a devastating flood swept through Boscastle, a small village on the north Cornwall coast. Very heavy rain fell in storms close to the village, with over 60mm of rainfall in two hours. The ground was already saturated due to above average rainfall during the previous two weeks. Combined with this the drainage basin has many steep slopes and there are areas of impermeable slate that led to rapid run-off. Boscastle is at the confluence where tributaries meet of three rivers — Valency, Jordan, and Paradise. About two billion litres of water then rushed down the valley straight into Boscastle within a short space of time causing the rivers to overflow.
Boscastle Floods - Met Office
On August 17th , after several hours of intense thundery rainfall in the drainage basin mm reported at Otterham combined with a rising tide lead, a catastrophic flash flood ensued on the River Valancy, upstream of the village of Boscastle, N Cornwall, which, with the sheer volume of water travelling at times up to 40 mph , broke its banks in the village. The force of the raging river swept over one hundred cars and three houses away, into the harbour and the open sea. A major rescue operation was launched by the RAF to airlift people to safety. A synoptic map of the situation from UKMO just after the event can be seen here and a satellite image here courtesy Bernard Burton. Other areas locally such as the harbour village of Crackington Haven, north of Boscastle, were also flooded as well as parts of the River Ottery catchment area flowing east into the River Tamar. Although the rain eased off in the evening, further rain fell in the W Cornwall area the following day 17th August hampering the clean up efforts.
Boscastle flood case study
The devastating flash flood which caused millions of pounds of damage in the Cornish coastal village of Boscastle was among the most extreme ever recorded in Britain, the Environment Agency said today. Interim work now being carried out would reduce the risk of flooding but would "inevitably be overwhelmed" by extreme conditions like the August 16 event, said an Agency report. The need for further works in Boscastle and elsewhere would be investigated, and could depend on a hydrological study of the summer flood. In August, a 10ft wall of water ripped through the lower part of the picturesque village in a four-hour period, sweeping away scores of cars and wrecking buildings. At its peak, tonnes of water a second was pouring through the village, said a report by the Agency.
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