Industrial machinery is being left on Pagham’s beach as a further storm threatens to batter the foreshore.
Arun District Council has made the decision to be able to react quickly if more damage is caused to the shoreline to threaten the nearest bungalows.
Storm Dennis is predicted to dominate this weekend’s weather. The Met Office has forecast torrential rain during both tomorrow and Sunday.
Gusts of south-southwesterly wind could peak at 57mph on Sunday after the south-westerly is set to reach a speed of 55mph tomorrow.
The atrocious conditions come after last weekend’s Storm Ciara caused some flooding at the beach earlier this week.
An Arun spokeswoman said: “Arun District Council engineers have been monitoring the weather and tidal forecast. Shingle recycling works have taken place to reduce the risk to properties in East Front Road, Pagham, over the past week.
“We are aware of the potential effects of Storm Dennis but the work in the recent days, and the fact that we are moving away from spring tides, provides a suitable level of confidence.
“However, we will be closely monitoring forecasts and are keeping the machinery on site, pictured above, to enable a quick response if needed.”
The initial news of the effects of Storm Ciara and high tides well above 6m on Pagham’s foreshore was given to councillors at Arun’s cabinet meeting on Monday.
Cllr Dr James Walsh, leader of the council, said: “Arun engineers had been tracking the weather system coming across the Atlantic, coinciding with spring tides this week, and put in place pre-emptive works at Pagham.
“Some over-wash to a number of properties in East Front Road has been experienced but the beach is largely still in place and no properties are damaged.
“Work continues to reinforce the beach crest at East Front Road.”
A large area of Climping remained flooded today after the deterioration of the village’s sea defences.
Much of its southern end is awash with water left by last weekend’s Storm Ciara and spring tides amid a series of flood alerts from the Environment Agency.
The latest applied to the last of the tides yesterday as the Post went to print.
The agency said: “The tide at 2.15pm is higher than normal due to unsettled weather, with strong westerly winds and large waves. The weather increases the tide table value by 0.3m. The tide forecast…is 6.15m at Littlehampton.”
This followed a similar alert for the previous day. The agency warned more could follow this weekend.
“Tide heights will fall from Thursday evening but minor flood impacts may remain with Storm Dennis this weekend.
“We continue to monitor the foreshore and may check the beach condition at low tide. Shingle may likely to be moved by the high water and weather. Avoid walking along the exposed coast and parking at Climping car park. Access will be restricted during and after high tide,” it stated.
The water-logged situation before the foreshore and the A259 east of Climping Street appalled Elmer resident Mark Deane. The 60-year-old said: “I walk along here every morning. This is awful.
“The damage left from the storm has been terrifying and I really have no idea what will happen next. We’re often affected and I know the Environment Agency is trying.
“They’ve put up posters all along the beach talking about the work they’re doing – but clearly more is going to have to be done.
“The water is almost all the way up to the A259. It really looks like it’s at a dangerous level. And, of course, even once the water has gone – the damage that’s going to be left on the fields is huge.
“Lots of the sea barriers up along here have been massively damaged. The stones have come up all the way up the seafront. I don’t know what comes next.”
At the cabinet meeting, Cllr James Walsh (LD, Beach) said the situation at Climping was a result of the Environment Agency’s coastal defence strategy in which unlimited, ongoing maintenance of the frontage was not seen as sustainable under its funding.
“Arun engineering staff have attended and report that no properties suffered internal flooding. Several, if not all, have deployed their own flood resilience measures.” Police, coastguard and firefighters were in attendance.