Storm Event

Horror and Confusion seiz'd upon all, whether on Shore or at Sea: No Pen can describe it, no Tongue can express it, no Thought conceive it, unless some of those who were in the Extremity of it.

Severity ? 6

Source

The event was associated with depression which swept the UK. The depression may have derived from a West Indian hurricane off the coast of Florida a few days prior to the event in the British Isles (HHart, 2015). The event became known as the Great Storm (Lowe, 1870).

Pathway

The sea wall was broken up and breached, and the River Severn overtopped in Gloucester, flooding one village a mile inland (Defoe, 1704).

Receptor and Consequence

This event effected the Thames estuary, though the Bristol Channel was worst hit (Brazell, 1968). ‘The Storm’ by Defoe (1704) contains letters from witnesses of the catastrophic events that transpired. The accounts report of losing innumerable sheep and cattle, as well as stored hay, corn, tobacco, sugar and other goods. One letter refers to small ships which travelled so far inland they could not be returned to the sea. It was estimated that 8000 people perished as a result of the storm and flood, including those in Holland and lost in shipwrecks. Numerous houses, barns and other buildings were destroyed due to the violent winds and flooding. In the Severn estuary, the damage was valued at £200,000.

 

Summary Table

Loss of life 8000 dead
Residential property Properties “levell’d with the Ground” across the UKxs
Evacuation & Rescue *
 
Cost Damage around the River Severn came to £200,000; damage to Gloucester sea wall worth £500
Ports Ships destroyed and stranded inland
Transport *
Energy *
Public services *
Water & wastewater *
Livestock Over 15,000 sheep lost, and innumerable cattle perished on the banks of the River Severn
Agricultural land Salt water damage fertile land in the Severn estuary
 
Coastal erosion *
Natural environment *
Cultural heritage *
Coastal defences Sea wall, composed of sticks and stones, destroyed in Gloucester

*No known sources of information available

 

Quotes:

“It was called the Great Storm, and probably the most terrible that ever occurred in England” – Lowe, 1870

“Horror and Confusion seiz’d upon all, whether on Shore or at Sea: No Pen can describe it, no Tongue can express it, no Thought conceive it, unless some of those who were in the Extremity of it” – Defoe, 1704

References

  1. Hart, S. (2017). British Weather from 1700 to 1849. Retrieved [04/09/2018] from http://www.pascalbonenfant.com/18c/weather.html
  2. Lowe, E. J. (1870). Natural Phenomena and Chronology of the Seasons. London: Bell and Dalby.
  3. Defoe, D. (1704). The storm: or, a collection of the most remarkable casualties and disasters which happen’d in the late dreadful tempest by both sea and land. [E-reader Version]. Retrieved [04/09/2018] from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/42234/42234-h/42234-h.htm
  4. Brazell, J. H. (1968). London weather. London: H. M. S. O
  5. Defoe, D. (1704). The storm: or, a collection of the most remarkable casualties and disasters which happen’d in the late dreadful tempest by both sea and land. [E-reader Version]. Retrieved [04/09/2018] from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/42234/42234-h/42234-h.htm