Tag Archives: storms

Storm Imogen – a sand eater

Storm Imogen has coincided with the new moon spring tides. The waves are being blown hard against the sand cliffs on Penrhos Beach, eating away the faces that had already become unstable from the incessant rains and winds.

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Storm Imogen driving the waves onto Penrhos Beach

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Sand slip – before the storm (now gone)

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The sea has come right through one of the breaches NRW dug last winter and is now onto the Postman’s Path

Although the winds are set to ease and the waves get smaller, the tides over the next few days will be even higher, so there will probably be more changes to the shoreline before the week is out.

Amongst the flotsam washed ashore by the storm was one of the pink HP printer cartridges the BBC reported on at the start of the year. The cartridges went overboard from a shipment more than a year ago and have been washing up on shores around the UK and Europe ever since. This is the first one I’ve found.

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HP cartridge – the first I’ve found

The stormy tide seems to have swept away much of the goose barnacle covered flotsam and jetsam that was accumulating on the beach. Each year there seem to be more and more of these barnacles washed ashore.

Tattered jellyfish and fallen trees

After yesterday’s storm with its hurricane force winds, the beach is littered with jellyfish and parts of jellyfish.

I think this may be a barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo). One of the few intact jellies on the beach.

I think this may be a barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo). One of the few intact jellies on the beach.

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One of the many scarf-like jellyfish fronds

One of the many scarf-like jellyfish “fronds” on the beach

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There are also plenty of windblown trees throughout the forest, mainly they’ve been cleared from the roads, but some are still blocking the track to the residents’ car park.

Fallen trees on the track to the residents' car park

Fallen trees on the track to the residents’ car park

 

 

A new beach

There are more storms still to come, but the highest tides are behind us. Penrhos Beach (the one to the west of Llanddwyn Island) has been remodelled by the elements: all the sand cliffs have been cut back and there are sand-slides all the way along.

Sand-slides slumped all along the foot of the sand-cliffs at Traeth Penrhos Beach

Sand-slides slumped all along the foot of the sand-cliffs at Traeth Penrhos Beach

A fresh sandslide: the new face of the dunes is still very unstable.

A fresh sand-slide: the fresh face of the dunes is still very unstable.

The path that used to run along the crest of the dunes now leads straight off the edge:)

The little path along the crest of the dunes now leads straight over the edge. Byddwch yn ofalus! Take care!

The little path along the crest of the dunes now leads straight over the edge. Byddwch yn ofalus! Take care!

Storms and tides

Red sky in the morning, shepherds' warning? Sunrise behind Mynydd Mawr.

Red sky in the morning, shepherds’ warning? Sunrise behind Mynydd Mawr.

Sunday 2nd February will see the highest tide of 2014: 5.5m at Llanddwyn Island. That is even higher than the tides at the beginning of January that caused so much damage.
The Met Office is also forecasting gale force winds for the weekend, particularly on Saturday. As the gales will be from the south west, they will drive the tide straight into the coast, again. And it looks like the strongest winds will coincide with the morning tide (5.4m) on Saturday, around 10.00am.

The National Tidal and Sea Level Facility predicts the highest and lowest astronomical tides around the UK years in advance – up to 2026 at the moment. Holyhead is the nearest location to Newborough. The highest high tide is expected next year – February 2015.

The tide times for the upcoming five days are provided by the Met Office for Llanddwyn Island at the bottom of their weather forecast. And the BBC also provides the tide times for the coming week using the data from the Hydrographic Office.

It’s worth checking the tide times if you’re planning a walk on the beach or a visit to Llanddwyn Island: the beach disappears at the highest tides, and Llanddwyn is cut off by all but the lowest high tides.

High tide at Llanddwyn/Newborough beach.

High tide at Llanddwyn/Newborough beach.

Anglesey is included in the charts provided by the Irish Meterological Service, Met Eireann: their five day forecasts are particularly useful and easy to interpret.

Goose barnacles

These goose barnacles, clinging to a marker buoy and a whisky bottle, have been thrown ashore by the storms. Goose barnacles have the smoothest, lustrous, pearly-white shells and look more like some kind of mussel than the jagged little barnacles that coat the rocks.

Common goose barnacles clinging to the pin of a marker buoy

Common goose barnacles clinging to the pin of a marker buoy

Goose barnacles washed ashore on a marker buoy

Goose barnacles washed ashore on a marker buoy

Baby goose barnacles with Grants whisky...

Baby goose barnacles with Grants whisky…

Sometimes they’re called goose-neck barnacles, or smooth goose barnacles or common goose barnacles. All the goose-y references are said to originate from old beliefs that geese hatched from the shells.

The boardwalk slides into the sea

Another day, another storm. As expected, the boardwalk at Newborough beach has collapsed and is sliding into the sea:(

Newborough viewing platform sliding into the sea

Newborough viewing platform sliding into the sea

Overnight, the beach has eroded back by about three metres, completely undermining the front legs of the platform. The legs have dropped down by about one metre to the new beach level.

Under the boardwalk - the erosion

Under the boardwalk – the erosion

Here’s an updated picture from today (Saturday 4th Jan).

Broken: the viewing platform, Newborough

Broken: the viewing platform, Newborough

Between the storms

Following the pre-Christmas storms, Penrhos Beach looks like an apocalypse zone for shellfish: millions of their shells have been torn up and strewn across the sands.

Thousands of razor clam shells carpet the beach

Thousands of razor clam shells carpet the beach

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Quite a few of the shellfish are still alive, but they’re easy pickings for the seagulls and crows who are having a proper Yuletide feast!

One of the shellfish survivors

One of the shellfish survivors

All that was left of what must have been a giant-sized crab was its claw

All that is left of what must have been a giant-sized crab is its claw

Stunningly coloured scallop shells

Stunningly coloured scallop shells

At another part of the beach, the sand has been turned black by what looks like coal dust.

In parts, the beach has been turned black with what looks like coal dust: it makes beautiful patterns

In parts, the beach has been turned black with what looks like coal dust: it makes beautiful patterns

And further along about halfway between Llanddwyn and the wreck of the brig Athena, part of an old ship’s rigging has been brought to the surface. It looks like a giant padlock, but apparently it is where one of the cross-beams on an old wooden sailing ship would have attached to the main mast.

The underside of the curve is wood the top is an iron band attached to two straps that wrap around a wooden beam (the wood is still intact)

The underside of the curve is wood the top is an iron band attached to two straps that wrap around a wooden beam at the bottom (the wood is still intact)

Tomorrow, the storms are meant to return with a vengeance :(