UK storm warning: Britain’s WORST storms – a timeline of the worst storms to ever hit UK

Storm Dennis is battering the British Isles today, with four Met Office amber warnings in place and a rafter of yellow warnings. The UK is braced for heavy rain and fierce winds, with the risk of snow on higher ground. But is this going to be one of the worst storms to ever hit Britain? takes a look at our nation’s weather history.

Bristol Channel Floods – 1607

The great flood of 1607 saw a disaster hit the south west of the country, as a huge surge of water coursed up the Bristol Channel – covering 200 square miles of land with water and killing 2,000 people.

The Great Storm of 1703

The Great Storm of 1703 was a destructive extratropical cyclone that struck central and southern England. Featuring hurricane strength winds, the storm killed somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people.

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Eyemouth Disaster – 1881

A severe storm struck the southern coast of Scotland on October 14, 1881, leading to the Eyemouth fishing disaster or ‘Black Friday’ as some locals call it. 189 fishermen, most of whom were from the village of Eyemouth, were drowned.

The Great Blizzard – 1891

The Great Blizzard of 1891 affected southern England between March 9 and 13 of that year. Strong winds, cold temperatures and snow which drifted up to 15ft high contributed to the deaths of 200 people and 6,000 animals.

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.

The Big Freeze – 1962/63

The harsh winter of 1962/63 was one of the coldest winters on record in the UK. Temperatures plummeted and lakes and rivers began to freeze over.

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The Great Storm of 1987

A powerful storm ravaged many parts of the UK in the middle of October 1987. With winds gusting at up to 100mph, there was massive devastation across the country and 18 people were killed and about 15 million trees were blown down.

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

Flooding affected York during the summer and autumn of 2000 as the River Ouse reached its highest levels since records began. The floods cost the city council in excess of £1 million and 40 people had to be moved from their homes.

Storms of 2013

Deemed to be the stormiest December since 1969, widespread gusts of 60 to 80mph swept through the country, with registered gusts of more than 100mph.

Storm Ciara, February 2020

At the start of February, Storm Ciara hit the UK with gusts of up to 97mph. Torrential rain caused electricity outages, flooding and travel chaos across the country with at least 20,000 homes left without power.

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