A significant event was also experienced in January 1978, although the extent of flooding was not as significant, due to the improvements to the flood defences following the 1953 event.
The astronomical tide level at Harwich during the 1953 flood was predicted to be 5.50ft, whereas the actual flood levels at this location were recorded at 13.07ft due to a combination of wind set-up (literally piling water against the shoreline) and intensely low atmospheric pressure. Extensive flooding occurred throughout Suffolk and records show that 40 people died in Suffolk, with a further 30,000 people displaced from their homes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent. The primary reason that the flood defences failed was due to overtopping, which resulted in 1600km of coastline being damaged and well over 1000 sq. km of flooded land.
Today, the Environment Agency has overall responsibility for flood defence and flood warning in England and Wales . It is provided with 24-hour forecasts of tidal surge and wave activity by the Meteorological Office Storm. The Tide Forecasting Service (STFS) was set up as a direct result of the 1953 East Coast Floods.