Storm Event

“The highest tide known for the past 40 years”

Severity ? 5


The storm developed in the mid-North Atlantic on the 25th of December and moved towards the UK. The storm crossed the UK on the 26th of December and had a central pressure of about 975 mbar (Davison, 1993Boza, 2018). A fierce hurricane wind from the southwest coincided with an extraordinary high tide 3 feet higher than usual led to coastal flooding in part of Hampshire area and Isle of Wight (Zong and Tooley, 2003). Lightning, heavy thunder, and rain were also reported during this event.


Huge waves broke over the Esplanade and Sandown Parade and overtopped a sea wall and a common area (Davison, 1993). A sea wall was even smashed to pieces by the waves.

Receptor and Consequence

The flooding started at noon and the water rose so quickly that hardly anything could be done to keep it out. It was reported that the total lost must have been some hundreds of pounds (Boza, 2018). Foam from the waves washed onto the windows of the houses.

In Portsmouth, common areas and streets were submerged to about waist height and boats were able to navigate through them and take passengers to their destinations (Davison, 1993). Cellars were full of water and many houses and stables were flooded with 2 feet of water. Gardens and roadways were flooded and a footpath was destroyed. Vast land, meadows, and mills were submerged and some sheep were drowned. There was inconvenience and extensive damage to houses and their furniture, streets, shops, and groceries; it was deemed as the most serious that has occurred for many years.

In Southampton, streets were water canals, low-lying houses and shops flooded. It was also reported that there was inconvenience in train transportation and people had water up to their knees. Telephone service was suspended during this event.

The flooding was the worst anyone had ever known at Wellington and Fareham that people spent Boxing day pumping out water from their homes (Davison, 1993).

In Cowes, there was serious flooding, much damage to stock, considerable loss of property, and some places were flooded to a depth of 5 feet and did not have electricity.

In Ryde there was much damage to houses, some places were flooded up to 2 feet. Stocks of cigars and cigarettes were damaged worth £30. Piers and ports were smashed and damaged. Roads were obstructed for cars and pedestrians, and many businesses were in standstill.

In Newport, there was serious flooding and considerable damage, the streets were flooded up to 1 foot depth with total loss of hundreds of pounds.

In Yarmouth, huge waves broke over the quay and streets, and there was serious flooding in streets and houses, with up to 3 feet deep, which caused considerable damages.

In Lymington, the water rose so rapidly that there was not enough time to do something, many houses were flooded, considerable quantities of corn, hay, sugar, barley, flour, oil, and poultry food was destroyed and 200 fowls died (Boza, 2018).

Summary Table

Loss of life *
Residential property Houses flooded in Portsmouth, Southampton, Cowes, Ryde, Yarmouth, and Lymington.
Evacuation & Rescue *
Cost Total lost must have been some hundreds of pounds.
Ports Piers and ports were smashed and damaged in Ryde.
Transport Streets in Portsmouth, Southampton, Newport, and Yarmouth flooded. Main road to Bembridge flooded. There was inconvenience in train transportation in Southampton. Tram could not run to Cosham from Portsmouth.
Energy Electricity was out in Cowes. Telephone service in Southampton was suspended.
Public services Shops were flooded in Portsmouth and Southampton.
Water & wastewater *
Livestock Some sheep were drowned in Portsmouth. 200 fowls drowned in Lymington.
Agricultural land *
Coastal erosion *
Natural environment Vast land, meadows, and mills were submerged.
Cultural heritage *
Coastal defences A sea wall was smashed to pieces by the waves.

*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.
  3. Zong, Y. and Tooley, M. J. A. (2003). ‘Historical Record of Coastal Floods in Britain: Frequencies and Associated Storm Tracks’. Natural Hazards, 29, 13–36. Available at: (Accessed: 5 March 2015).