More details of storm surge may calm future concerns

EDITOR – I refer to the article concerning the removal of the sirens (Lincolnshire’s last flood warning sirens removed – Leader, February 22) in favour of the Environment Agency’s more modern alert system.

Referring to the quote in the article – ‘The sirens, which sounded loudly as the famous floods of 1953 hit’. I guess you weren’t around then, but whoever told you that one got it wrong.

The sirens were used at the time of the surges in 1976 (January 3) and 1978 (January 11) and, contrary to what has been quoted about their efficiency, they were sufficiently audible, especially in the areas under the most threat.

But they weren’t used during the 1953 floods. I know because I was there and I was in the street wading home from the cinema.

Furthermore, even if there had been mobile phones in those days, or pagers, they would have to be strapped to your ear, because it’s doubtful if you’d hear them in your pocket with 100mph winds howling and shrieking past.

I’d go along with the fact that the modernised system is ok because of the potential to monitor and give pre-warnings and situation analysis. So the surprise factor isn’t really in the equation now, but the sirens, had they been used in 1953 would almost certainly have saved lives.

We lived in the area where the sea broke through; the depth and damage were worse there, and there were several fatalities in the close vicinity, mainly bungalows, and I believe some in the streets.

Following the storm surge of a few years ago, I remember trying to find where the surge had reached, without success.

There was a lot of coverage all right, lots of times we were told that it would reach the area of Great Yarmouth at such-and-such a time, but I couldn’t find where it actually was at the time and, believe me, I searched long and hard to find out.

If this feature could be added to the report details of any future tidal surges I believe it would prevent considerable worry for people in the areas threatened to know that the danger had passed.

For many years the siren on top of the former council offices was used to summon the firefighters – and it worked.