Families tell of storm ordeal

Dorset Echo: Onlookers watch the stormy seas at Chesil Beach, Portland Onlookers watch the stormy seas at Chesil Beach, Portland

RESIDENTS have told of their ordeal after fleeing their homes as flooding threatened Portland.

People living on the island were given the option of evacuating or moving to upstairs rooms as 15ft waves threatened to flood Chiswell.

Most stayed in their homes and waited the storm out.

Anne Souster’s home in Brandy Row was flooded.

She said: “The water is two inches deep. We didn’t leave the cottage.

“It’s been here since the 1600s so thought it would last the course.

“I think there was more of a problem with the idiots going up to the sea wall and putting themselves in danger.”

Rachel Hodson fled her home in Chiswell along with her two children, Matthew, nine, and Keanen, seven, and the family’s two dogs.

The stayed with a friend in Southwell.

Miss Hodson, 30, said: “The children were in bed fast asleep when the sirens sounded.

“I got them out of bed and we all went up to stay with my friend.

“My youngest was a bit frightened.”

Miss Hodson moved all the electrical items upstairs, away from potential flooding.

Authorities closed the causeway from 10.20pm to 1.30am on Monday night and sirens sounded at Chiswell at 10.25pm, warning of waves coming over the sea wall.

Seven Weymouth residents, who were left stranded on Portland, went to the Heights Hotel until the road was re-opened.

Around 30 Portland residents waiting to return to the island remained queued in their cars at Ferrybridge during the closure.

Jackie Breakspear, joint licensee of the Cove House Inn which is yards away from Chesil Beach, said a small group of people remaining in the pub when the sirens sounded moved upstairs.

She said: “A huge wave came over and hit the pub.

“There was water cascading down the windows.

“We had tables floating outside and pebbles coming up to the door.”

Cindy-Lee Noble, 57, inset, and son Ben Weeratunge, 32, of Clements Lane, Chiswell, said hearing the sirens on Monday night was ‘a scary’ experience.

Cindy said: “We had to move all expensive and sentimental items upstairs and I thought to myself ‘they’re only objects – safety is more important’.

“We stayed upstairs until sunrise but then it was time to come downstairs, put the wellies back on and assessed the damage.

“Luckily nothing was damaged and no water came in due to the sandbags we had, which we are thankful for.

“Everyone on the street was looking out their windows in the morning at one another and putting their thumbs up to signal that everything was okay.

Authorities kept a watch as high tide approached yesterday.

Workers from the Environment Agency, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, South Western Ambulance Service, Dorset County Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council kept a watch as tides peaked at 10.50am.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax visited Chiswell yesterday and praised the emergency response.

He said: “Everyone I’ve spoken to has said they are very thankful to the Environment Agency, the police and fire brigade who have all done a very good job of warning people.”

Borough councillor Sandra West, who represents Underhill on Portland, said the islanders are a ‘stoic’ people who are pulling together in the crisis.

She said: “It was very wild last night but the sea defences obviously did their job.

“I’ve lived here for more than 40 years and it’s one of the worst storms I’ve seen.”

 

  • THE Environment Agency stepped down its flood warnings for residents in Weymouth and Portland.

The warnings were reduced from Severe Flood Warning to Flood Warning for both Preston Beach and Chiswell last night.

The warning was in place for two hours after high tide at 11pm.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “The previously issued severe flood warning has been downgraded.”

Rest centres at Wey Valley School and the Portland Heights Hotel were put on standby, but authorities said they would not be activated unless necessary.
The Met Office has issued further yellow weather warnings for rain for the early hours of this morning and then from noon today till 9am tomorrow.

County battered by gale force winds and rain

DORSET was underwater as the county continued to be battered by wind and rain.
Roads were closed and public transport disrupted as rivers overflowed and landslips were reported.

Conditions are expected to calm down today, although the Met Office is forecasting more rain overnight.

A yellow weather warning for rain is in place until 6am.
The chief forecaster for the Met Office said: “Heavy showers will become less frequent for a time through Tuesday afternoon, but more prolonged rain is likely to affect some south-eastern counties of England overnight into the early hours of Wednesday.

“The public should be aware of the risk of further localised flooding, especially in areas which have been affected in recent days.”

Severe flood warnings issued by the Environment Agency were lifted yesterday for Preston Beach Road in Weymouth and Portland Beach Road.
Preston Beach Road was closed at high tide yesterday morning due to the risk of tidal flooding and debris on the road.

A diversion was put in place via Littlemoor and police urged drivers not to ignore road closure signs.

A spokesman said: “This is a multi-agency operation and follows monitoring of sea levels, tides and waves over the last 24-hour period.

“The weather forecast indicated further severe weather together with predicted high tides.”
A landslip in West Dorset blocked the B3162 at North Allington in Bridport between the Allington Mead junction and the Pymore Lane junction.

There was also a landslip in Sherborne, blocking the New Road at the Gas House Hill junction.
A number of roads were closed due to floods, including the A352 in North Street at Charminster, the B3075 South Causeway at Wareham.

White Way in Litton Cheney was blocked because of a fallen tree and dozens of other roads across the county were hit by floodwater.
RNLI volunteers from across the south west were drafted in to cope with conditions.
Flood rescue team manager Tom Mansell said: “We were called to make sure people were safe and accounted for in the treacherous conditions.

“This involved wading through the rising water, which was running at speed, so our training was vital. Fortunately everyone was accounted for.”

A spokesman for Dorset Fire and Rescue said the service was called out to a number of weather-related incidents yesterday, including reports of arcing cables on Bere Road just south of Winterbourne Kingston.

A crew from Blandford attended just after 12.30pm and stood by as a precautionary measure but the incident was handed over to engineers from Scottish and Southern Energy.

 

  • PALMERS Brewery in Bridport was struck by lightning during yesterday’s thunderstorm – the second time this has happened in 12 months.

The brewery’s building in South Street is the only thatched roof brewery in the UK.
This lead to a full evacuation of staff from the premises.

 

Darren Batten, the head brewer at Palmers Brewery, said: “We were hit just after 8am.
“There was a massive hail storm and a massive bang and a flash of light, and then the alarms started sounding, so we had to evacuate into the rain.

 

“There has been no damage to the building, and thankfully nobody is injured.
“We think the lightning hit the scaffolding on the end of the Malt House building, which is our biggest storage area which is where all the sensors are, which started the alarms.

 

“We are brewing today as well, but it didn’t really affect the brewing process because we just turned it off then started it up again after.”
 

The brewery did call the fire brigade after the incident, but two of the staff are also retained firefighters and after they conducted their initial checks, the brewery cancelled the fire brigade once everyone’s safety was ensured.
 

The building was previously hit by lighting in May 2013. Mr Batten added: “It’s the second time in a year it has happened, so lightning really does strike twice.”

Comments (6)

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10:26am Wed 8 Jan 14

David_divenghy2 says...

So just to confirm, no road was actually flooded?
Worse in 40 years? Oh c'mon councillor.

Reality Vs Hyperbole....

http://www.geoffkirb
y.co.uk/Portland/680
735/680735300.jpg

http://www.geoffkirb
y.co.uk/Portland/680
735/68073513.jpg

http://www.geoffkirb
y.co.uk/Portland/680
735/68073553.jpg

http://www.assetstor
age.co.uk/AssetStora
geService.svc/GetIma
geFriendly/721383589
/700/700/0/0/1/80/Re
sizeBestFit/0/PressA
ssociation/C2CB3F75A
42A91C92E97C1652FBED
C57/weather-portland
-floods-car-damage.j
pg


What a "wet" country we live in today.
So just to confirm, no road was actually flooded? Worse in 40 years? Oh c'mon councillor. Reality Vs Hyperbole.... http://www.geoffkirb y.co.uk/Portland/680 735/680735300.jpg http://www.geoffkirb y.co.uk/Portland/680 735/68073513.jpg http://www.geoffkirb y.co.uk/Portland/680 735/68073553.jpg http://www.assetstor age.co.uk/AssetStora geService.svc/GetIma geFriendly/721383589 /700/700/0/0/1/80/Re sizeBestFit/0/PressA ssociation/C2CB3F75A 42A91C92E97C1652FBED C57/weather-portland -floods-car-damage.j pg What a "wet" country we live in today. David_divenghy2

10:50am Wed 8 Jan 14

David_divenghy2 says...

Aside from the fact nothing actually happened and yet it is called a "crisis", I could not help but note that of the 6 people quoted, not one of them was male?
Aside from the fact nothing actually happened and yet it is called a "crisis", I could not help but note that of the 6 people quoted, not one of them was male? David_divenghy2

11:13am Wed 8 Jan 14

shy talk says...

Come on Echo we need more attention grabbing headlines. “The Great Storm of 2014” for starters.
Come on Echo we need more attention grabbing headlines. “The Great Storm of 2014” for starters. shy talk

11:40am Wed 8 Jan 14

IslandJim1 says...

David_divenghy2 wrote:
So just to confirm, no road was actually flooded?
Worse in 40 years? Oh c'mon councillor.

Reality Vs Hyperbole....

http://www.geoffkirb

y.co.uk/Portland/680

735/680735300.jpg

http://www.geoffkirb

y.co.uk/Portland/680

735/68073513.jpg

http://www.geoffkirb

y.co.uk/Portland/680

735/68073553.jpg

http://www.assetstor

age.co.uk/AssetStora

geService.svc/GetIma

geFriendly/721383589

/700/700/0/0/1/80/Re

sizeBestFit/0/PressA

ssociation/C2CB3F75A

42A91C92E97C1652FBED

C57/weather-portland

-floods-car-damage.j

pg


What a "wet" country we live in today.
Couldn't agree more, Geoff's website (being a hidden gem with many pictures of Portland from the 80's and 90's, well worth a look) clearly show's what a real Chiswell flood looks like, 1989 colour pictures showing proper devastation AFTER the flood defence's where built.

As for the stoic "Portlanders" that have been interviewed by the echo, many have not been in the area for more than 5 years "waves breaking OVER the cove", no, spray hitting the windows, yes. Worst storm in 30 years, please, its not even the worst flooding in 8 years when the same conditions led to water running across the same low point in the road just after the second roundabout, during morning rush hour no less, and was the road closed, no.

Personally I feel the Environment Agency (with good intent) have taken this opportunity to test out there new sign's, sirens and procedures, In what have been stormy but no life threatening conditions. A dry run if you will, so people are ready if a real event takes place.
[quote][p][bold]David_divenghy2[/bold] wrote: So just to confirm, no road was actually flooded? Worse in 40 years? Oh c'mon councillor. Reality Vs Hyperbole.... http://www.geoffkirb y.co.uk/Portland/680 735/680735300.jpg http://www.geoffkirb y.co.uk/Portland/680 735/68073513.jpg http://www.geoffkirb y.co.uk/Portland/680 735/68073553.jpg http://www.assetstor age.co.uk/AssetStora geService.svc/GetIma geFriendly/721383589 /700/700/0/0/1/80/Re sizeBestFit/0/PressA ssociation/C2CB3F75A 42A91C92E97C1652FBED C57/weather-portland -floods-car-damage.j pg What a "wet" country we live in today.[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more, Geoff's website (being a hidden gem with many pictures of Portland from the 80's and 90's, well worth a look) clearly show's what a real Chiswell flood looks like, 1989 colour pictures showing proper devastation AFTER the flood defence's where built. As for the stoic "Portlanders" that have been interviewed by the echo, many have not been in the area for more than 5 years "waves breaking OVER the cove", no, spray hitting the windows, yes. Worst storm in 30 years, please, its not even the worst flooding in 8 years when the same conditions led to water running across the same low point in the road just after the second roundabout, during morning rush hour no less, and was the road closed, no. Personally I feel the Environment Agency (with good intent) have taken this opportunity to test out there new sign's, sirens and procedures, In what have been stormy but no life threatening conditions. A dry run if you will, so people are ready if a real event takes place. IslandJim1

2:52pm Wed 8 Jan 14

PORTLAND ROVER says...

The sea can be a demon most of the time and although many Portlanders do say that they know when the sea will come over, actually...no one is that omnipotent. However, Portlanders do know what conditions are needed and what times after Highwater they are likely to happen...but as I say, no-one can say 'Sea is coming over tonight'! This is exactly the case with the Enviroment Agency. They were there in case of the worst scenario. Had they not sounded the Flood Warning and the sea did come over...then all hell would break loose because 'The Authorities never warned us!' So...Quite rightly, they sounded the flood sirens, because there was a serious risk, which thankfully did not amount to much. This story sadly has been overhyped. Yes there was flooding but albeit reletively small amounts. It ended up as being a bit of a Non-Event. As a Portlander, I remember the Sea coming over in the Mid Seventies and the pictures of the cars being tossed around the old Chesil Beach Motors and the resulting mess will leave an indelible mark in my mind, That was a Storm! Probably not even as bad as others in Portland's history, but my memory will serve that one as the worst storm I have seen and to many many folk who are fairly recent to living on the Royal Manor, They are doing the same thing. This storm was perhaps the worst they have seen and so spent many hours watching in amazement. Some risking their lives by getting too close. Of course the Echo and other Media will jump on the sensasionalism wagon, as that's what sells. Good luck to them...But in reality, thankfully...everyon
e is safe and Portland now awaits the next storm...and no doubt the whole process will start all over again. Pom Pom rock toppling over was an event just waiting to happen and would have gone at some stage...it is a natural erosion, it just so happened during January 2014, could have happened sooner, maybe later, but would have gone eventually. So to close...as I say, I think the Environment agency were right to sound the alarms, their presence also helped to allay fears from the Hamlet's' residents, who for some of them, were in the firing line of their worst ever storm. Certainly Portland will see worse in the future...but the sea wall has been excellent, the engineers certainly got this right when they designed and built it, and later added to it. Definately one of the reasons I did not see another mid Seventies Storm. That's it from me, I do not mind if anyone does not agree with me on anything I have written, I do not want to say I am a Portlander who has seen it and done it... Because...next week?....Who knows!
The sea can be a demon most of the time and although many Portlanders do say that they know when the sea will come over, actually...no one is that omnipotent. However, Portlanders do know what conditions are needed and what times after Highwater they are likely to happen...but as I say, no-one can say 'Sea is coming over tonight'! This is exactly the case with the Enviroment Agency. They were there in case of the worst scenario. Had they not sounded the Flood Warning and the sea did come over...then all hell would break loose because 'The Authorities never warned us!' So...Quite rightly, they sounded the flood sirens, because there was a serious risk, which thankfully did not amount to much. This story sadly has been overhyped. Yes there was flooding but albeit reletively small amounts. It ended up as being a bit of a Non-Event. As a Portlander, I remember the Sea coming over in the Mid Seventies and the pictures of the cars being tossed around the old Chesil Beach Motors and the resulting mess will leave an indelible mark in my mind, That was a Storm! Probably not even as bad as others in Portland's history, but my memory will serve that one as the worst storm I have seen and to many many folk who are fairly recent to living on the Royal Manor, They are doing the same thing. This storm was perhaps the worst they have seen and so spent many hours watching in amazement. Some risking their lives by getting too close. Of course the Echo and other Media will jump on the sensasionalism wagon, as that's what sells. Good luck to them...But in reality, thankfully...everyon e is safe and Portland now awaits the next storm...and no doubt the whole process will start all over again. Pom Pom rock toppling over was an event just waiting to happen and would have gone at some stage...it is a natural erosion, it just so happened during January 2014, could have happened sooner, maybe later, but would have gone eventually. So to close...as I say, I think the Environment agency were right to sound the alarms, their presence also helped to allay fears from the Hamlet's' residents, who for some of them, were in the firing line of their worst ever storm. Certainly Portland will see worse in the future...but the sea wall has been excellent, the engineers certainly got this right when they designed and built it, and later added to it. Definately one of the reasons I did not see another mid Seventies Storm. That's it from me, I do not mind if anyone does not agree with me on anything I have written, I do not want to say I am a Portlander who has seen it and done it... Because...next week?....Who knows! PORTLAND ROVER

3:11pm Wed 8 Jan 14

woodsedge says...

PORTLAND ROVER wrote:
The sea can be a demon most of the time and although many Portlanders do say that they know when the sea will come over, actually...no one is that omnipotent. However, Portlanders do know what conditions are needed and what times after Highwater they are likely to happen...but as I say, no-one can say 'Sea is coming over tonight'! This is exactly the case with the Enviroment Agency. They were there in case of the worst scenario. Had they not sounded the Flood Warning and the sea did come over...then all hell would break loose because 'The Authorities never warned us!' So...Quite rightly, they sounded the flood sirens, because there was a serious risk, which thankfully did not amount to much. This story sadly has been overhyped. Yes there was flooding but albeit reletively small amounts. It ended up as being a bit of a Non-Event. As a Portlander, I remember the Sea coming over in the Mid Seventies and the pictures of the cars being tossed around the old Chesil Beach Motors and the resulting mess will leave an indelible mark in my mind, That was a Storm! Probably not even as bad as others in Portland's history, but my memory will serve that one as the worst storm I have seen and to many many folk who are fairly recent to living on the Royal Manor, They are doing the same thing. This storm was perhaps the worst they have seen and so spent many hours watching in amazement. Some risking their lives by getting too close. Of course the Echo and other Media will jump on the sensasionalism wagon, as that's what sells. Good luck to them...But in reality, thankfully...everyon

e is safe and Portland now awaits the next storm...and no doubt the whole process will start all over again. Pom Pom rock toppling over was an event just waiting to happen and would have gone at some stage...it is a natural erosion, it just so happened during January 2014, could have happened sooner, maybe later, but would have gone eventually. So to close...as I say, I think the Environment agency were right to sound the alarms, their presence also helped to allay fears from the Hamlet's' residents, who for some of them, were in the firing line of their worst ever storm. Certainly Portland will see worse in the future...but the sea wall has been excellent, the engineers certainly got this right when they designed and built it, and later added to it. Definately one of the reasons I did not see another mid Seventies Storm. That's it from me, I do not mind if anyone does not agree with me on anything I have written, I do not want to say I am a Portlander who has seen it and done it... Because...next week?....Who knows!
A very balanced and factual account of the storm and thank you for bringing some commonsense to the thread
[quote][p][bold]PORTLAND ROVER[/bold] wrote: The sea can be a demon most of the time and although many Portlanders do say that they know when the sea will come over, actually...no one is that omnipotent. However, Portlanders do know what conditions are needed and what times after Highwater they are likely to happen...but as I say, no-one can say 'Sea is coming over tonight'! This is exactly the case with the Enviroment Agency. They were there in case of the worst scenario. Had they not sounded the Flood Warning and the sea did come over...then all hell would break loose because 'The Authorities never warned us!' So...Quite rightly, they sounded the flood sirens, because there was a serious risk, which thankfully did not amount to much. This story sadly has been overhyped. Yes there was flooding but albeit reletively small amounts. It ended up as being a bit of a Non-Event. As a Portlander, I remember the Sea coming over in the Mid Seventies and the pictures of the cars being tossed around the old Chesil Beach Motors and the resulting mess will leave an indelible mark in my mind, That was a Storm! Probably not even as bad as others in Portland's history, but my memory will serve that one as the worst storm I have seen and to many many folk who are fairly recent to living on the Royal Manor, They are doing the same thing. This storm was perhaps the worst they have seen and so spent many hours watching in amazement. Some risking their lives by getting too close. Of course the Echo and other Media will jump on the sensasionalism wagon, as that's what sells. Good luck to them...But in reality, thankfully...everyon e is safe and Portland now awaits the next storm...and no doubt the whole process will start all over again. Pom Pom rock toppling over was an event just waiting to happen and would have gone at some stage...it is a natural erosion, it just so happened during January 2014, could have happened sooner, maybe later, but would have gone eventually. So to close...as I say, I think the Environment agency were right to sound the alarms, their presence also helped to allay fears from the Hamlet's' residents, who for some of them, were in the firing line of their worst ever storm. Certainly Portland will see worse in the future...but the sea wall has been excellent, the engineers certainly got this right when they designed and built it, and later added to it. Definately one of the reasons I did not see another mid Seventies Storm. That's it from me, I do not mind if anyone does not agree with me on anything I have written, I do not want to say I am a Portlander who has seen it and done it... Because...next week?....Who knows![/p][/quote]A very balanced and factual account of the storm and thank you for bringing some commonsense to the thread woodsedge

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