Extratropical cyclone damage to the seawall in Dawlish, UK: eyewitness accounts, sea level analysis and numerical modelling

Journal article


Adams, K. and Heidarzadeh, M (2022). Extratropical cyclone damage to the seawall in Dawlish, UK: eyewitness accounts, sea level analysis and numerical modelling. Natural Hazards. 116, pp. 637-662. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-022-05692-2
AuthorsAdams, K. and Heidarzadeh, M
Abstract

The February 2014 extratropical cyclonic storm chain, which impacted the English Channel (UK) and Dawlish in particular, caused significant damage to the main railway connecting the south-west region to the rest of the UK. The incident caused the line to be closed for two months, £50 million of damage and an estimated £1.2bn of economic loss. In this study, we collate eyewitness accounts, analyse sea level data and conduct numerical modelling in order to decipher the destructive forces of the storm. Our analysis reveals that the disaster management of the event was successful and efficient with immediate actions taken to save lives and property before and during the storm. Wave buoy analysis showed that a complex triple peak sea state with periods at 4–8, 8–12 and 20–25 s was present, while tide gauge records indicated that significant surge of up to 0.8 m and wave components of up to 1.5 m amplitude combined as likely contributing factors in the event. Significant impulsive
wave force of up to 286 KN was the most likely initiating cause of the damage. Reflections off the vertical wall caused constructive interference of the wave amplitudes that led to
increased wave height and significant overtopping of up to 16.1 m3/s/m (per metre width of wall). With this information and our engineering judgement, we conclude that the most
probable sequence of multi-hazard cascading failure during this incident was: wave impact force leading to masonry failure, loss of infill and failure of the structure following successive tides.

KeywordsStorm surge, Cyclone, Railway, Climate change, Infrastructure, Resilience
Year2022
JournalNatural Hazards
Journal citation116, pp. 637-662
PublisherSpringer
ISSN1573-0840
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-022-05692-2
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-022-05692-2
Publication dates
Print14 Nov 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Mar 2024
Publisher's version
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File Access Level
Open
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