Storm Event

Strong gales cause widespread coastal damages at opposite ends of the country

Severity ? 3


The storm devolved from an existing low-pressure system situated south of Greenland on 13th December 2012. On 14th December, low pressure extended across much of the northern North Atlantic, with a sharp pressure gradient and consequently strong winds over the British Isles. The wind field was characterised by strong southerly to south-westerly winds over the English Channel early on 14th December, and easterly to south-easterly winds over the North Sea through to 15th December.

Sea levels were relatively low and this event appears to have been more wave dominated.

We are unaware of any sources describing the wave conditions during this event.


This event was notable for the serious damages to defences around Scotland, which failed due to a combination of overtopping and breaching.

Receptor and Consequence

This event was associated with flooding in parts of southwest England and Scotland (Met Office, 2012). Thirty properties were inundated in Looe, Cornwall while around sixty persons were evacuated in northwest Scotland. In Lossiemouth, the harbour wall was partially demolished by waves. This event was also notable for serious wave damages and coastal flooding along parts of southwest England and northeast Scotland. In Lossiemouth, (Scotland) a 15 m section of the harbour wall collapsed (BBC, 2012), and flooding of nearby Shore Street led to the temporary disruption of traffic (Crowther, 2012). Widespread impacts on coastal defences were reported for northeast Scotland, with a total estimated cost £2.5 million (The Highland Council, 2013). Approximately 60 people were evacuated in northeast Scotland, and around 30 properties were flooded in Looe, Cornwall (Met Office, 2012). Train services at Dawlish were suspended after flooding led to several cancellations (Doherty, 2012). There was some coastal erosion at Scrabster, and a land slip at Portskerra was also reported (The Highland Council, 2013).


  1. Met Office, 2012. December 2012. Climate Summaries. Available at: [Accessed November 13, 2015].
  2. BBC, 2012. Gales and high tides cause damage across eastern Scotland. BBC News. Available at:
  3. Crowther, S., 2012. Partial collapse of sea walls at Lossiemouth’s East and West Beaches. STV News. Available at:
  4. The Highland Council, 2013. Storm Damage – 14/15 December 2012. Report by the Director of Transport, Environmental & Community Services
  5. Doherty, R., 2012. Torquay seafront closed and trains cancelled after flooding. Aol News. Available at: