Fears of a second major flood in Preston inside a month proved groundless on Friday lunchtime - but only by a matter of inches.
Environment Agency staff, some wearing life jackets, took up positions along the swollen River Ribble at Lower Penwortham where a monster tide was expected to hit.
But as the water rose steadily towards the top of the flood defences, it stopped just short with anxious residents and council staff looking on.
“The worst is over,” said an Environment Agency spokesman as the tide turned. “That’s it for this tide, although there is another due in about 11 hours.”
River levels rose by more than 10 metres during the day as strong winds on the Lancashire Coast pushed an already high seasonal tide up the Ribble Eastuary.
But, unlike the beginning of December when gale force winds inland forced the river to burst its banks at both Penwortham and Samlesbury, conditions were much calmer, leaving the Ribble high but calm.
“Las month the wind was whipping the water over the flood walls, but it looks like we have escaped a repeat because the wind has dropped,” said one resident watching at high tide around 1.30pm. “It’s a big relief because there are some round here who were flooded out in December and still have an insurance claim in for that one. We didn’t want another.”
Further west, on the Fylde Coast and up to Morecambe Bay, winds were much stronger, whipping waves up over the seafront.