Storm Event

This was the major surge event of the 1992/93 winter and the most threatening for some years

Severity ? 4


The storm developed southeast of Greenland on 19th February 1993 and moved eastwards towards the UK. On 20th February, the storm passed north of Scotland, and then south-eastwards over Scandinavia reaching northeast Europe on 21st February with a central pressure of about 980 mbar. Due to the interaction of the anti-cyclone over the Atlantic and the small depression over Europe, strong northerly winds were generated over the North Sea. Wind gusts of up to 50 knots [26 m/s] in many parts of northern and eastern Britain were recorded on 20th February, and up to 76 knots [39 m/s] at Great Dun Fell, Cumbria (Met Office, 1993). At Sumburgh (Shetland), gusts reached 87 knots [45 m/s] (Eden, 2008).

The storm generated a skew surge of 1.77 m at Lowestoft in the southern North Sea. Skew surge values of 1.69 m and 1.5 m were recorded at Cromer and Dover, respectively. Water levels exceeded the 1 in 5 return period at 3 sites on the North Sea. The highest return period was a Lowestoft, and was 1 in 27 years.

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


Many defences in the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Essex and Kent experienced overtopping and breaches.

Receptor and Consequence

This event saw serious localised flooding in several locations along the east coast between Humberside and the Thames Estuary, including Great Yarmouth, Spurn Head and Scarborough (Zong and Tooley, 2003; Eden, 2008). In East Anglia and Kent, many people abandoned their homes due to the forecasts of the large storm surge arriving near high tide (Met Office, 1993). An estimated £2 million in damages was incurred along the east coast, with over 600 people evacuated from their homes in Walcott, Hemsby, and Morston (The Times (1993)). Close to Ingoldmills, Lincolnshire, a sea defence was damaged when a 15 m scour hole was formed, almost resulting in total failure. More detail is available from Pratt, (1995). Amongst the reported damage was a 12 m wide flood gate being swept away at Sea Palling, with subsequent severe damages. An old display lifeboat was torn from its moorings at Cromer and deposited at a nearby café. A barge was pushed into the pier at Cromer and caused damage to the decking. Flooding occurred at Blakeney Quay at high water in the morning of 21st February and the banks of the Norfolk Broads were overtopped due to the extreme water levels. Localised flooding was reported at Felixstowe, Essex, and there was breach of a sea wall at Herne Bay on the north Kent coast. Furthermore, the undermining of a soft cliff at Hemsby resulted in a holiday bungalow falling into the sea.

Summary Table

Loss of life *
Residential property *
Evacuation & rescue 600 persons were evacuated in Walcott, Hemsby, and Morston
Cost One source cites an estimated £2 m in damages along the east coast
Ports *
Transport *
Energy *
Public services *
Water & wastewater *
Livestock *
Agricultural land *
Coastal erosion *
Natural environment *
Cultural heritage *
Coastal defences Much damage to defences in parts of the east coast

*No known sources of information available


Affected Sites

Name Return Period ? Water Level ? Tide ? Skew Surge ? Date ?
LOWESTOFT 27 4.18 2.31 1.86 21st Feb 1993 09:00
DOVER 14 7.81 6.27 1.53 21st Feb 1993 11:00
CROMER 9 6.25 4.5 1.74 21st Feb 1993 06:15


  1. Met Office, (1993). Monthly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office. Monthly Weather Report, 110(2). Available at:
  2. Eden, P. (2008). Great British Weather Disasters. London: Continuum UK
  3. Zong, Y. and Tooley, M.J. (2003). ‘A Historical Record of Coastal Floods in Britain: Frequencies and Associated Storm Tracks’. Natural Hazards, 29(1), pp.13–36. Available at: [Accessed March 5, 2015].
  4. The Times, (1993). ‘East Anglia floods cause £2m damage’. Times Newspapers Limited [London, England]. The Times Digital Archive[/ref). Large waves and prolonged high water were observed at Southend. Localised damage was reported on the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast ([ref title="Pratt, 1995"]Pratt, I. (1995). ‘The storm surge of 21 February 1993’. Weather, 50(2), pp.42–48. Available at: (Accessed: 26 March 2015).
  5. Pratt, I. (1995). ‘The storm surge of 21 February 1993’. Weather, 50(2), pp.42–48. Available at: (Accessed: 26 March 2015).