A rare alignment of the sun, moon and earth may cause severe flooding across parts of the UK on Wednesday, due to supertides hitting many coastal areas.
10 flood warnings and 44 flood alerts have been issued by The Environment Agency.
This is the first time Britain has seen the supertide phenomenon in 18 years.
A spokesman said: ‘High tides will peak on Tuesday bringing a risk of minor localised flooding around the Wye estuary in Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, along with parts of the Yorkshire coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.
‘Localised disruption to travel and some flooding of low-lying land and individual properties is possible.
‘We urge people to take care near coastal paths and promenades and not to drive through flood water.
‘The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely alongside the Met Office and will issue further flood updates and warnings if required.
‘People should check their flood risk and keep up-to-date with the latest situation.’
The Environment Agency expert explained that high tides do not in themselves lead to flooding, but it is when they coincide with a combination of low pressure and strong winds.
The tides are governed by the gravitational pull of the moon and, to a lesser extent, the sun.
When the gravitational pull of the sun and moon combine, larger than average tides occur – known as spring tides.
When the gravitational pulls offset each other, we get smaller tides known as neap tides.
However there is a longer cycle at work as well, associated with the gravitational pull of the planets in the solar system.
This can causes an additional increases and decreases in the size of spring and neap tides over longer periods of time.
‘We are currently at the height of those increases, so the astronomical tide is at an 18-year peak – although this is only a few centimetres bigger than a more average spring tide.’ the spokesman added.
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