The Somerset flood of December 1981 – in photos

The Somerset flood during 13th December 1981 led to severe damages over an extensive area, while impacting around 1,000 properties, loss of over 25,000 heads of livestock, and £6 million in repair costs. Flood water reached a pump house at Hinkley nuclear power plant, and the subsequent failure of all 6 electric pumps led to closure of the “A” station for several weeks. Part of the M5 motorway was also flooded.

This event ranks 5th in the SurgeWatch database in terms of sea level return period, and is also among the most severe events in terms its consequences.

Significant damages were experienced at Burnham-on-sea, and a great collection of photographs have been made available online by the locally-run website. Two photographs included below show a vehicle which had been washed into a seafront property, and one of many homes surrounded by flood water.



Since the 1981 floods, several tens of millions of pounds have been spent on improving flood defences along the North Somerset coastline, which will protect properties in areas including Pill, Clevedon, Portishead, and Weston-super-Mare.

For more photographs of the damages at Burnham-on-sea please visit the article produced by the local community website, available here.