The East Coast is no stranger to the tempestuous power of the North Sea, and last week, it witnessed yet another display of nature’s fury as Storm Babet made its mark. This powerful storm left a trail of destruction and served as a stark reminder of the raw force that nature can unleash. The storm, a powerful weather system, brought in by eastly gales, swept across the North Sea, battering the east coast of the UK with unrelenting winds, heavy rainfall, and surging tides. It was a reminder that, even in our modern age of advanced technology, nature can still command our awe and respect.

It brought significant challenges for the communities along the east coast. As gales howled and waves crashed against seawalls and coastal properties, residents faced sleepless nights and the anxious wait for the tides to recede. Coastal defenses were put to the test, and some regrettably faltered under the onslaught.

Many residents had to temporarily abandon their homes as floodwaters rose, forcing them to seek refuge with friends and family or in emergency shelters. For some, the damage was devastating, with their homes and belongings ravaged by the elements.

The storm’s impact extended beyond the human sphere. The environment felt the wrath of the storm as well. Coastal ecosystems were disrupted, and eroding coastlines shifted, potentially altering habitats for local wildlife. Beaches were reshaped, and coastal dunes reshuffled, a testament to the ever-evolving nature of our coastlines. We were sailing today (24th October 2024) and as we approached Holy Island we noticed the disappearance of the cardinal buoy near which raises questions. Is it submerged on the seabed, or has it washed ashore? Its little things like this that we take for granted, but because its missing now, any vessel passing will not know its missing and things could go horribly wrong if they hit the rocks. A bit further down the coast the famous lighthouse lost the top of the lighthouse due to the size of the waves.

Marine life also felt the storm’s effects. The churning seas created a turbulent underwater world, affecting the creatures that call it home. From fish to crustaceans, many marine species had to adapt to the changing conditions brought about by the storm. Its known that dolphins and whales go deeper away from the swell of the seas to survive but not all sea creatures are as lucky as they are. Personally I don’t know enough about the under world but It’s something I need to learn. The grey seals, are well-accustomed to the volatile North Sea, displayed their survival instincts. They retreated to quieter, more sheltered areas and utilized their remarkable abilities to dive beneath the tumultuous waves. These marine mammals are well-equipped for resilience, but at this time of the year their young are very vulnerable so the mothers tend to get as high as possible when they give birth so the little ones have a good chance of survival. However, the storm revealed a disheartening sight—a vast amount of palm oil washed up on the beaches, shedding light on the wider implications of environmental pollution.

As gales howled and waves crashed against seawalls and coastal properties, residents faced sleepless nights and the anxious wait for the tides to recede. Coastal defences were put to the test, and some regrettably faltered under the onslaught.

Many residents had to temporarily abandon their homes as floodwaters rose, forcing them to seek refuge with friends and family or in emergency shelters. For some, the damage was devastating, with their homes and belongings ravaged by the elements.

Storm Babet may have left its scars, but it also showcased the resilience of Northumberland’s coastal community and its rich array of wildlife. As we come together to restore what has been lost and support those most affected, we must also consider our role in the changing climate and the need for continued conservation efforts. Our thoughts are with those who faced the brunt of the storm’s fury, and we stand together as we navigate the challenges ahead, ever mindful of the natural world that surrounds us.

I think a final note has to be about climate change and the future

As we reflect on the impact of Storm Babet, we must also consider the wider context of climate change. The increasing frequency and severity of such storms are indicators of a changing climate. While we can’t prevent these storms, we can take steps to mitigate their impact and adapt to a changing world.

Storm Babet serves as a stark reminder of the raw power of nature, and as we rebuild and recover, we must also strive to reduce our impact on the environment to ensure a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

We were very lucky in Seahouses and surrounding areas but, we extend our thoughts and support to those who have been affected. Together, we can weather the storms and build a more resilient, environmentally conscious future.

Some pictures from the storm.