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Location of Boscastle
Boscastle is a picturesque, rural village,
and is popular with tourists. It is located on
the northern coast of Cornwall, in the far
South West of England. Boscastle is
approximately 80 miles and 45km from the
nearest large urban area, Plymouth. The
village has two rivers meeting there,
Valency and Jordan, which come from the
high hills of Bodmin Moor. These rivers are
the main cause of the flood. The nearest
main road to Boscastle is the A39 .

Causes of the Boscastle Flood

Many things caused this flood, which is why it was so disastrous.

First of all, the rain. 600 mms of rain fell in just two hours, and
thats a whole months worth! The storm clouds in the sky above
the Cornish coast were extremely huge, and the clouds were
localised to Boscastle. The flood was also caused by the valley
shape. The valleys of the rivers Valency and Jordan are extremely
steep, and the valleys are so narrow, they funnel the water down
to Boscastle extremely quickly, which also made the flood worse.
Both rivers have their sources in the high hills of Bodmin Moor,
where relief rainfall occurs. The highest point on Bodmin Moor is
420 metres, which increases the speed of the rivers flowing
downhill. The rocks of Boscastle and the surrounding region are
impermeable, like slate and granite, which means the rivers cannot
sink far into the ground, causing much more water to overflow. And
finally, humans must not build on flood plains! Boscastle is on a
flood plain near the sea, and it is located where two rivers with
narrow valleys converge. So it is partly the fault of the people for
living there.

The village had two rivers meeting in it; This helped the flooding,
and made matters worse

The Effects of the Flood

The flood occurred on the 16th of August 2004, and coincidentally,
there was one on exactly the same day, but 52 years earlier, in
Lynmouth, on the North Devon Coast (very near to Boscastle).
The effects of the Lynmouth flood were devastating, but the
Boscastle flood was less serious. It was a calm, peaceful day At
Boscastle, until the rain came tipping down at four oclock pm,
and the rivers Jordan and Valency burst there banks, causing
floodwaters to spread throughout the village. Approximately 1000
residents and tourists were affected in the Boscastle flood, and
the only casualty was a broken thumb! There were no deaths at
all, like there had been at Lynmouth. 58 properties were severely
flooded, 84 damaged cars were recovered from the harbour and
lots of household furniture and possessions were washed away to
sea. Up to 100 people, especially the elderly, were rescued and
airlifted by seven helicopters. The Cornwall County Fire Brigade
remained at Boscastle for seven days. A bridge was damaged,
and the rivers had totally covered it, allowing cars and other
objects to float over it. The severe damage to buildings and
properties cost up to 2 million to rebuild. A lot of trees were also
uprooted, which could lead to more flooding, as trees prevent it.
People became homeless, and had to camp out in the nearby
leisure centre. The village was badly scarred by this freak
disaster, and jobs and businesses were lost, such as hotel
managing. The village contained many historic buildings and
pleasant Cornish gift shops, but all were damaged and taken
away by the flood. Peoples lives will be forever scarred because
of this natural disaster.

Cars were among the damaged property

destroyed by the flood

The bridge at Boscastle

What can be done to prevent future disasters like this?

The Boscastle flood was a natural disaster, and people cannot stop natural disasters from happening. But, people can
make them less serious, by a number of ways. The river Jordan has a new culvert, extending 80m into the River
Valency. This was done by the Environment Agency. Apart from that, not much else has been done to help prevent
future flooding, except people are more aware. This flood is predicted to be a once in a 400 year event, so people
remain fairly relaxed about it, even though there is a possible risk. However, there are possible ways which the village
of Boscastle could try to tame future flooding. The channels of the rivers Valency and Jordan could be widened and
deepened, to increase the capacity of the river. But this would mean dredging the riverbed, a problem for wildlife. In
order to increase evapotranspiration, more trees should be planted. This reduces the amount of water that goes into
the river, because the trees absorb the water. A very huge safety measure could be taken into action, but this has to be
thought about carefully. A dam. This controls the flow of the water in the upper course, which reduces flooding. But for
now, Boscastle is being recovered, and people are more concerned about restoring their village. They can think about
taking action for future flooding after this.