Since records began back in 1766, Britain has seen some deadly storms batter their way across the country, destroying farmland, buildings and killing hundreds of people.
Britain has been battered by stormy weather so far in 2020, with Storm Ciara causing damage and Storm Dennis forecast to bring further disruptions with heavy rain and strong winds.
Our guide looks at the worst storms to hit the British Isles since records began, from the 1607 Bristol Channel Floods to the nationwide floods of 2013 and the recent storms of 2020.
Bristol Channel Floods – 1607
The 1703 Storm
Eyemouth Disaster – 1881
A severe storm struck the southern coast of Scotland on 14 October, 1881. Strong winds capsized several fishing boats, and 189 fishermen drowned as a result. 129 of the fishermen were from the village of Eyemouth, and the citizens of the village still refer to the disaster as Black Friday.
The Great Blizzard – 1891
For four long days, Cornwall and Devon where almost entirely cut off from the rest of Britain. Violent gales bought down trees, temperatures plummeted below zero and snow drifted in places up to 15 feet high. 200 people perished, along with 6,000 animals. Roads and railways became impassable, telephone and telegraph lines were taken out of commission.
North Sea Flood – 1953
One of the greatest storm surges on record drowned 326 people in the UK at the end of January 1953. The flooding forced 30,000 people to be evacuated from their homes, and 24,000 properties were seriously damaged. 160,000 hectares of eastern England flooded and more than 1,600 km of coastline was damaged.
The Big Freeze – 1962/63
The harsh winter of 1962–1963 was one of the coldest winters on record in the UK. The cold weather started on 22 December, with snow falling across Scotland on Christmas Eve before sweeping its way south. The Arctic weather lasted until March, with rivers and lake freezing over.
The Great Storm of 1987
One of the most notorious storms to hit the UK, after weather presenter Michael Fish famously dismissed the idea that a hurricane was approaching. In total, 18 people lost their lives in Britain, with the damage caused costing over £1 billion. An estimated 15 million trees were lost, thousands of homes were without power for several days and wreckage blocked the roads and railways across the country. Find out more about The Great Storm of 1987.
Burns’ Day Storm – 1990
Hurricane force winds struck southern Scotland, causing the death of 47 people. Damage was widespread, with power supplies cut and roads and railways blocked.
The floods of 2000
Storms of 2013
Storm Ciara, February 2020
At the start of February, Storm Ciara hit the UK with gusts of up to 97mph with torrential rain, causing electricity outages, flooding and travel chaos across the country with at least 20,000 homes left without power.