years ago this week: How the 1981 storm changed Burnham-On-Sea
is exactly 35 years this week since Burnham-On-Sea suffered severe
flooding and millions of pounds of damage during a major winter
storm that led to major changes to the town's seafront.
events of December 13th, 1981 are still clear in the memory of many
residents - and Burnham-On-Sea.com today takes a special look back
at some of the photos and stories
from that week.
damage was caused to the seafront, as pictured here, while homes
and streets in several parts of the town were flooded by an inundation
of sea water caused by a huge high tide, a storm surge and flood
water from melting snow coming down the Bristol Channel.
luckily no-one was killed, the conditions caused damage valued at
over £6million along Somerset's coastline.
damage spurred on the Environment Agency to build Burnham's current
sea defences at a cost of £7.5m, which were finally opened
Gosling was one of the Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards on duty that evening.
He recounts how the storm unfolded: "It was a rainy, bitterly
cold night. We were called out at 6pm when the forecasters confirmed
the severe weather would be coming to Burnham."
were nervous about what was going to happen. We spent much of the
evening moving sand bags into position and helping residents move
out of basement flats along the seafront."
in the early hours when the storm hit, the waves rolled right over
the sea wall and into the town. I'd never seen anything like it.
The gratings along The Esplanade were thrown upwards by the force
of the water under the sea wall - and parts of the wall itself were
Higgs recalls: "At Cadwells Lane in West Huntspill,
I remember opening the door of our home at around 9pm to collect
my bike and looking over my shoulder to see a 'wall' of water headed
towards me. I was completely awestruck by it and remember running
quickly back inside. Within a few minutes, we had 4-5ft of water
inside the house."
looked out of the windows in the morning to see water completely
surrounding our house - it felt like we were in the middle of an
ocean. The water had come inland so far here that it was almost
up to The Orchard. We had to live upstairs for a whole fortnight
afterwards, while the rooms downstairs dried out."
Golding added: "The Burnham District Nurses coped with people
in flooded areas, while the Highbridge nurses covered out to Pawlett.
I remember driving in my wellington boots down the central white
line of the A38 at West Huntspill,with water on each side, in order
to get to patients. The local council loaned out many heaters to
help dry carpets."
Michael Clarke said this week: "The 1981 storm was an important
moment for Burnham-On-Sea that led to a lot of change 35 years ago.
The building of the new sea wall and improved flood defences created
a much safer environment for the town ever since. We certainly hope
we never see the likes of a storm like the 1981 one ever again."
memories of the 1981 storm in Burnham-On-Sea
car was swept along the seafront on the South Esplanade by the 1981
of several seafront shelters that was left damaged by the 1981 storm
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 and Brean, and 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.
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
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-On-Sea seafront
in a successful attempt to prevent further flooding.
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.
along the coast near Burnham were severely damaged by the wind and
old shelter on the North Esplanade was surrounded by holes and sand
in Maple Drive and Sycamore Close worked together in the flooded
dome shelter on Burnham seafront was surrounded by debris
and other debris were pushed along the streets by water and debris
storm prompted new sea defences to be built in Burnham at a cost
foundations of the new sea wall being put in place during the 1980s
Contact us with your memories
and photos of the storm
of the 1981 storm in Burnham-On-Sea
Your memories of
Burnham-On-Sea's 1981 storm