March 01, 2015

The Back Page: The Mistake by the Sea

Jonathan Scoll

The Mistake by the Sea

 

There should have been warnings, but there were none. Most of the residents of a small beach town on the French Atlantic coast, La Faute-Sur-Mer, were asleep when an unusually powerful storm code-named “Xynthia” swept in off the Atlantic in the small hours of Sunday, February 28, 2010. Xythnia’s arrival coincided with an exceptionally high tide. The local topography—a river mouth whose waters were backed up by the wind and tide—further heightened the storm surge.

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