STORM CHAOS: Power of the sea batters the coastline

Storms at West Bay

Storms at West Bay

First published in News by

STORM force winds whipped into West Dorset as the wild winter weather resumed its assault.

Waves at West Bay threw up shingle with such force that cars parked well away from the beach had windows smashed.

Meanwhile, anxious eyes were watching the Lyme Regis cliff faces and harbour as “the worst storm in 50 years” slammed into the town.

Colin Jones, deputy launching authority for the Lyme Regis RNLI, said: “Nobody has known the weather to be like this. The sheer consistency of the wind and the rain is immense.”

The Old Shipyard facing the sea at West Bay had part of its roof ripped away and arcing power cables meant a power cut for some households.

Fallen trees blocked roads on the approach to Netherbury and at Stoke Abbott flying dustbins and debris caused hazardous driving conditions.

Steve Tucker from Ellipse Café in West Bay said: “Nothing has flooded yet but we have some really, really strong winds, though I can’t see any damage anywhere yet.

“There are some big waves coming in but nowhere near as bad as we have had but it is high tide later on and they are smashing up over the pier already.”

There was a substantial movement of land on Monmouth Beach at Lyme Regis last weekend, and with the bad weather set to continue, Tom Sunderland, senior reserve manager at Natural England, warned there could be another “significant movement”.

He said: “There are small cliff falls happening all the time, which is nothing unexpected, but it certainly happens a lot more in these conditions.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a big, significant movement closer to Lyme Regis in the next few weeks. It is a very active landslip.”

Mike Higgs, Deputy Harbourmaster for Lyme Regis, was on the Cobb to try and police the area.

He said: “You can only prepare yourselves so much, we just have to be around to police the harbour, the Cobb and stop people walking on the Cobb.

“Last week’s storm was slightly worse because the tide was much higher but the wind today has been fierce. It has gone up to storm force 11 at times.

“This phase of storms has been relentless.”

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