Met Office warns that devastating storm surges like 2013 'could become annual events'

  • ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray looks at the climate concerns for the future - a decade on from the 2013 storm surge

Ten years on from the worst storm surge to hit the East of England in 60 years, experts have warned that like-for-like weather events in the future will almost certainly be even more destructive.

Over the last century, ocean temperatures have risen rapidly and polar ice caps are melting - equating to a 20cm increase in sea levels in 100 years.

The pace in which this is happening is also speeding up, meaning levels are likely to have risen by another 2-3cm since the devastating storm surge of 2013.

If the trend continues, scientists believe that such events are likely to not only become more frequent in the coming years, but more damaging, too.

Improvements are currently being made to the sea wall in Jaywick. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"If we consider our defined threshold water level, then that would increase in frequency," Jennifer Weeks, a climate scientist at the Met Office, told ITV News Anglia.

"So, a one in 200-year event might become a one in 100-year event, and likewise, a one in 100-year event, might become an annual event."

For villages such as Jaywick in Essex, a 3cm rise in sea levels could be disastrous.

In 2013, authorities evacuated all 2,500 residents - such was the concern that the waves would breach the sea wall.

As it turned out, it was a lucky escape. The wall remained unbreached, albeit with just 2.5cm to spare.

However, should a storm surge happen again tomorrow, the wall would likely be unfit for purpose.

It's the reason why the Environment Agency is currently undertaking a multi-million pound upgrade of the wall to try to protect this vulnerable community.

Workers are currently strengthening and raising the structure, as well as dumping 14,000 tons of rock on the beach - all in the hope of holding Mother Nature back.

"It's an ongoing battle, obviously, living by the coast," local councillor Bradley Thompson said.

"You're never going to beat it. You've just got to be one step ahead of it at all times."

  • Click below to listen to the latest episode of the What You Need To Know podcast - entitled 'The British homes on the edge of falling off a cliff'