photos: The story of Burnham's 1981 storm
dramatic winter storm of 1981 hit Burnham-On-Sea and left a trail
of damage along the town's seafront and a repair bill along the
Somerset coastline amounting to £6 million.
13th, 1981 will stick in the minds of many Burnham-On-Sea residents
forever - it was a frightening, defining moment for the town that
led to the construction of stronger sea defences and local authorities
taking a fresh look at the town's flood preparedness.
high tides combined with a massive storm surge and, while fortunately
no lives were lost, millions of pounds of damage was left across
the area and scores of homes and businesses in the centre of Burnham
photos here show how the town's Esplanade bore the brunt of the
storm. They illustrate how a huge operation to shore up the sea
defences took place on December 14th, when another high tide was
due. Your memories of the 1981
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sea wall collapsed in several places, leaving gaping holes in
the pavements and at the edge of The Esplanade road.
of the sea wall littered Burnham's seafront on the morning after
the December 13th storm.
seafront was badly damaged, with concrete from the sea wall and
other debris littering The Esplanade.
car, parked outside a seafront property, was hurled into the front
of the building, damaging a wall and windows.
hit homes in low-lying areas of Burnham-On-Sea, Brean, Weston,
Uphill and Sand Bay. The water travelled inland as far as Pawlett.
workers joined forces with local residents to fill up sand banks
and shore up the gaps in Burnham's sea wall.
emergency repair operation in Burnham on December 14th was one
of the most extensive ever carried out by West Country local authorities.
long line of lorries was used to quickly bring in stone from local
quarries, along with sand, in order to try and shore up the seafront
and prevent further damage.
many people in Burnham suffered financial damage, they were drawn
together by a strong community spirit by helping others at a time
of need - here seen preparing sand bags.
of sand bags were filled by volunteers along Burnham seafront
in a sucessful attempt to prevent further flooding.
type of vehicle was used to help bring in sand to try and prevent
more flooding in homes across the town.
Water Authority estimated the total damage to the Somerset coastline
had been £6 million - all of it caused by a sea surge like
nothing seen before.
rocks were delivered direct from quarries to shore up the damaged
seafront in Burnham.
along the coast near Burnham were severely damaged by the wind
of the worst affected homes were surrounded by flood water.
old shelter on the North Esplanade was surrounded by holes and
Drive in Burnham was under several inches of sea water after the
in Sycamore Close worked together in the flooded roads
water again spilled over the damaged sea defences on the following
dome shelter on Burnham seafront was surrounded by debris
storm damage was also visible here besides Burnham seafront cafe
and other debris were pushed along the streets by water and debris
the weather contributed to Burnham's 1981 flooding
December 1981 began and ended mild, with a severe wintry
spell between the 8th and 27th which contributed to the
conditions in Burnham-On-Sea. As the month started, a warm
front moving around a large high south of Ireland brought
temperatures of 15C to Aberdeen on December 3rd. As the
high slipped away, cold fronts brought progressively colder
air south. Bitterly cold air with hail and snow reached
Shetland on the 4th and a depression moved southeast across
the country on the 7th, bringing with it icy cold air.
turned to heavy snow with a sharp temperature plunge on
the 8th. There were some exceptional temperatures in the
northerly airflow. On the 11th, the minimum around Glasgow
was -13C. As a low front crossed northern France on the
11th, there was widespread heavy snowfall in the south with
26cm recorded at Heathrow. Clearing skies, fresh snow and
still Arctic air all added up to very low temperatures -
the minimum was -22.6C in Shropshire on the night of the
depression introduced a blizzard with wind speeds of 95
mph in the south west on December 13th. This created a huge
storm surge along the Bristol Channel, leading to widespread
flooding in Burnham and elsewhere. It also combined with
the weather suddenly turning milder, creating a rapid thaw
and sending melt water down the Bristol Channel towards
you have photos of the 1981 storm in Burnham? Send
them to us here
memories of the 1981 storm in Burnham-On-Sea
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