The UK’s very temperamental weather has seen the country hit by some very destructive weather in the past.

We take a look at some of the worst weather to ever hit the country. 


Servicemen and civilian workers toiling at Canvey Island, Essex, to repair the sea defences, damage to which caused the disastrous floods in 1953

This great storm was the worst disaster in peacetime history for Britain.

The North Sea flood was a devastating storm tide which affected the eastern coast of the UK.

A combination of gale-force winds, low pressure and high tides led to the storm surge and with no severe flood warnings in place and phone lines down, people were unaware of what was about to hit.

326 people were killed, 30,000 evacuated and 1,600 km of coastline damaged.

The event led to the official service for the forecast of coastal flooding.


Fallen trees crashed onto cars parked at Clarence Parade in Portsmouth in the wake of the savage weather which left a trail of chaos in the south of England.

This particular storm has become equally as known for Michael Fish’s seemingly inaccurate predictions as the devastation it caused.

Despite forecasts to the contrary, hurricane-force winds hit the UK, with the South worst affected.

Then Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, described it as “the worst night since the Blitz”, as £1 billion damage was caused and 18 people died.

Research has since revealed this was a new weather phenomenon called a ‘sting jet’ and this storm was the first sting jet recorded in Britain.


Scaffolding, blown from a towerblock, which fell onto a van parked nearby in the storms in 1990

Unlike the Great Storm of 1987, the Met Office had predicted the 1990 Burns Day storm and issued warnings. However, the storm of 1990 was still more deadly and more expensive.

47 people were killed including children in schools where the roofs had collapsed.

Half a million people were estimated to have lost electricity and the total cost of the damage was around £2 billion.

[Related story: Why do UK storms now have names and what’s next]



Local residents brave the floods in York.

The year 2000 saw England and Wales hit by flooding during the wettest autumn for more than 200 years.

North Yorkshire’s River Ouse reached its highest level since 1625, peaking in York at 5.3m above normal levels.

The army were called in to help and Chinooks were seen dropping sandbags.


The scene after a wall of water tore through the picturesque tourist spot of Boscastle in north Cornwall

Cornwall is a popular tourist spot during August, but August 2004 saw a whole village – Boscastle - submerged by flash flooding.

Approximately 100 people, some of whom had climbed on to their roofs for safety, were rescued by emergency services.

Around 150 cars were swept out to sea and over 50 properties were damaged, some completely destroyed.

Thankfully, nobody died as a result of this dramatic weather.


2013 saw a whole winter full of storms.

In October, 99mph winds were recorded in the Isle of Wight. 625,000 homes were without power and flights were cancelled.

In December homes were flooded and landslips were trigged by extreme weather.


A fallen tree in Brighton, Sussex as storm Katie hits the UK bringing gusts of more than 70mph hit areas in the South West and amber weather warnings were issued for London and the South East.

Most recently, Storm Desmond caused damage across the North West in which two people died.

Flooding affected as many as 6,425 in Cumbria, with evacuations, loss of power and some communities completely cut off.

Many schools were closed and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it would be running only essential services. 


A fallen tree in Brighton, Sussex as storm Katie hits the UK

Storm Katie was the eleventh storm of the season with strong gusts and heavy rainfall experienced over a busy bank holiday weekend.

On the evening of Sunday 27 March 2016 Storm Katie tracked across southern Britain and moved out into the North sea by midday on Easter Monday.

A peak wind speed of 106 mph was recorded on the exposed Needles of Isle of Wight, but gusts of 70 - 80 mph along the coast and 50 - 70 mph inland were more widely experienced.

The strong winds brought widespread impacts across southern England including damage to trees and structures and disruption to transport with bridge closed and flights, ferries and trains cancelled.

Across the south of England, over 100,000 power outages were recorded.