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Town is counting the cost of savage storms

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

  • Properties on the ground floor of Barnaloft Flats at Porthmeor Beach were flooded twice in four days as gigantic waves slammed ashore.

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COASTAL properties in St Ives suffered severe damage during the storm as massive waves crashed on to the shore.

Several apartments at Porthmeor Beach were flooded and a large section of the decking outside the beach café collapsed.

On the west side of the beach concrete paving stones were ripped up, railings pulled apart and wooden beach huts battered.

A wall of sand pushed up by the high tide is now covering some of the buildings along the beach to as much as a third of their height.

Driving wind, heavy rain and high tides saw water crash against Barnaloft Flats, on the edge of the beach, causing them to flood twice in four days.

Eighty-six-year-old Elizabeth Shaw had to be evacuated from her ground-floor apartment last week as water poured in.

Her son, Chris Shaw, said he couldn't believe the damage that the storm had caused.

"There was seaweed and sand everywhere," he said. "It's scary.

"We've been coming here and spending time here for the past 50 years and I've never known the sea like that.

"We've had to evacuate my mother. It was too scary for her to be there. It's unsafe."

Another flat suffered severe water damage after waves smashed a window and broke the frame, and after the initial onslaught of the storm last Friday morning residents shielded the apartments with hundreds of sandbags in an attempt to hold back the deluge.

Further measures are being taken to make the beach safe, with several areas now cordoned off.

One staff member at the Porthmeor Beach Café said he had never seen anything like it.

"It's hopefully a one-off; we never want to see it again," he said. "We're cleaning up and making it safe."

Chris Hibbert of Porthmeor Studios said they had been spared the full fury of the storm.

"We've suffered minimal damage," he said. "If this had happened three years ago we would have lost the studio, but since the renovation it's held out."

Cornwall Council said it had been working to secure the area as further severe weather warnings had been issued for the county.

A spokeswoman said: "A significant amount of sand has piled up against the properties and we are advising [residents] not to move the sand as it is offering added protection against high tides and waves. Work has taken place to remove debris from the beach that could cause further damage."

Despite lining their doors with sandbags, several restaurants and pubs along the harbour front also took in water as the sea breached the harbour walls.

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