RESIDENTS and council workers turned out to clean up after the most ferocious storm in decades, despite warnings of worse to come.

Chiswell on Portland was left strewn with pebbles following the storm, which was described as the worst in 30 years.

Boats and benches were smashed and homes were damaged by floodwater.

Onlookers reported surges of up to a foot deep as waves breached the sea defences and crashed over houses.

Head of emergency planning at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Grant Armfield said at least 40 tonnes of pebbles and debris had been left on the roads.

He added: “The borough council has been working with county council highways and Dorset Waste Partnership to make sure the drainage gullies are clear and to remove the debris from the road, which is a hazard to cars.”

Owners of the Cove House Inn Jackie Breakspear and Mandy Broughton-South opened to customers yesterday, though the pub’s boarded-up windows showed the ferocity of the storm.

Mandy said: “It’s the worst it’s ever been. We said that when the sirens went off before, but it was even worse this time.

“The windows were smashing as the pebbles and waves were hitting them. One pebble even came right through into the pub.”

The pair appealed for friends and residents to help sweep the stones off the coastal path and back on to the beach, which has been flattened by the weather.

Margaret Young, of Brandy Row, was left drying out her furniture after one ‘huge wave’ fell directly in front of her house.

She said: “It fell in the garden, and then about six inches of water started spreading through the house. We just carried everything upstairs.

“I’ve been here 18 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, visited Chiswell to speak to those affected by the storm.

He said: “I’d like to thank the local authorities, the Environment Agency and the police for the sterling work they have done.

“In particular, on behalf of those affected in Portland, I’d like to also thank everyone who has come here today to clean up.”

Izzy Imset, of community group Chesil Beach Watch, said beach cleans would be organised in the near future as it is thought rubbish will be washed up on the high tides.

The storm attracted researchers from Plymouth University.

A team led by Dr Tim Poate are studying the effect of storms on gravel beaches.

Dr Poate said he hopes the research will allow experts to accurately predict the height of waves during storms and what effect it will have on the beach.