SUSSEX was already reeling from Storm Ciara last week when Storm Dennis hit over the weekend.

Dramatic drone shots showed fields in Barcombe near Lewes filled with floodwater on Sunday.

But one village thankfully spared from heavy damage was Climping, a seaside settlement across the River Arun from Littlehampton.

Huge waves caused by Storm Ciara had wrecked Climping beach’s sea defences “beyond economic repair” and flooded Ferry Road, the village’s main transport link.

Though Storm Dennis was not nearly as destructive, residents are still concerned future storms could destroy their home.

“It’s a crucial time for Climping,” said Arun district councillor Ian Buckland.

“God forbid if we ever get high tide, high pressure and the River Arun bursts its banks.

“The district council has plans to build 1,000 homes on the west bank of the river by 2026.

“This area could be under water by then.”

Climping is far from the only place in Sussex which could feel the wrath of climate change.

A new map from the European Environment Agency, right, shows thousands of people could be affected by sea level rise by the end of the century.

Residents of low-lying coastal areas from Bognor to Eastbourne could be forced out of their homes.

“In the absence of any existing or future coastal protection, these areas would be permanently inundated in the coming centuries if sea level rises by the projected amount,” the agency wrote.

“However, temporary coastal flooding of these areas caused by extreme high sea levels could occur much earlier as a result of the combined effects of mean sea level rise, waves and storm surges.”

In a “high emissions scenario” where the global temperature increases by 3C by 2050, coastal flooding in Sussex could become 500 times more frequent by 2100.

Coupled with a predicted rise in heavy rainfall, flash floods further inland could also become more common.

These changes could have economic consequences as well as humanitarian ones.

The European Environment Agency report predicts farmers’ incomes in the South East could drop by as much as ten per cent if they cannot adapt to wild weather.

National Farmers’ Union West Sussex chairwoman Caroline Harriott, who manages farms in Arundel and Worthing, said she has to be more organised in the face of extreme weather.

“I’m not sure how climate change factors into it but our only way of keeping up with extreme weather is being prepared,” she said.

“If you get a dry day you have to be prepared to do a job exactly when it needs to be done.

“You have to be much more organised.

“Forecasts are more accurate than they used to be, but you have to get it in that window.

“It’s the difference between fertilising on time and having to do it two weeks later because it’s been too wet.

“A day can make a difference between a good year and a bad year now.

“Bad weather affects arable farmers a lot more.”

Ms Harriott said farmers need more powers to clear drainage ditches by rivers to avoid their fields flooding.

“It takes a long time for applications to be put through because so many Government bodies are involved,” she said.

“But if we don’t get ditches cleared, our fields could be flooded and so could Arundel.”

With extreme weather set to become more frequent, the Environment Agency (EA) says flood defences are crucial to protecting people’s livelihoods.

Defences “fit to protect Shoreham for 100 years” were installed last year.

But EA chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd said natural solutions such as restoring wetlands to store floodwater are also important.

“As we’re seeing with some of the extreme weather in the UK over the past few years, the climate emergency can no longer be underestimated,” she said.

“We must do everything we can to not only tackle climate change but also adapt to its impacts.

“Building hard flood and coastal defences will always be important.

“But natural solutions like restoring wetlands to store floodwater and planting trees to hold water in the soil will play an increasingly important role in the future.”