Storm Event

‘Oldest inhabitants assert that they never experienced a more dreadful storm’

Severity ? 4


Portsmouth was struck by a gale a few hours before high tide forcing the wind to push the flood tide towards Portsea Island (Davison, 1993). A hurricane wind from the south and southwest was experienced from 6 pm on the 4thof March and was accompanied by heavy rain and electric discharge. On the 5thof March at 8 am, a gale of wind came from the southwest and west. It was almost a spring tide; however, the water rose 5 feet higher than ordinary spring tides and maintained that height for 3 hours after it should have lowered (Boza, 2018).


Two extensive breaches were made on a sea wall and the water overflowed (Boza, 2018). The sea made a complete breach through the beach at Southsea and another mile-long breach in the shingle bank (Davison, 1993).

Receptor and Consequence

In this event, many individuals have sustained great losses, towns were greatly injured, a vast amount of properties were destroyed. In Southampton, there was hurricane wind and many properties was damaged by it however, only a platform was washed away by the high tide (Boza, 2018). In Southsea, arable land was inundated and cattle were drowned or killed by the fall of the houses. In Portsmouth, the water was 2 feet deep in Broad Street.

In Cowes, houses were flooded, several sea defences sustained injuries due to the storm surge, and the streets had 2 feet of water. Common areas in low-lying grounds were completely inundated. Wharves and ports were completely swept away. The embankment along the coast was washed into the neighbouring corn field destroying it completely. In Ryde, between 200 and 300 yards of new pier and 8 houses were swept away, many others were damaged, and 13 acres of wheat were spoilt. A 350-yard building full of potatoes seeds was washed down by waves. Various public defences have sustained injury from the heavy sea-surges.

Summary Table

Loss of life *
Residential property Houses were flooded in Cowes. 8 houses were swept away in Ryde, many others damaged.
Evacuation & Rescue *
Cost *
Ports Wharves and ports were completely swept away.
Transport Water was 2 feet deep in Broad Street, Portsmouth and Cowes.
Energy *
Public services *
Water & wastewater *
Livestock Cattle were drowned in Southsea.
Agricultural land Arable land was inundated in Southsea. Whole fields of corn were entirely destroyed. 13 acres of wheat were spoilt in Ryde.
Coastal erosion *
Natural environment *
Cultural heritage *
Coastal defences 2 extensive breaches on sea wall and shingle bank.

*No known sources of information available


  1. Davison, M., Currie, I., and Ogley, B. (1993). The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Weather Book. Westerham, Kent: Froglets Publications Ltd, Brasted Chart.
  2. Boza, X. (2018). The Reconstruction and Analysis of Historical Coastal Flood Events from 1800’s in the Solent, UK. Southampton MSc Dissertation.