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STORM CHAOS: Devastation and evacuation on Island
RESIDENTS have told how they have never experienced such violent weather as Portland was battered by nature’s rage.
The beach at Chesil Cove has been altered dramatically by the storms, with pebbles and sand disappearing Sue Hogben said the beach had been stripped of tonnes of pebbles and layers of blue clay had been exposed.
Visitor Robert Wilson was amazed to see a set of steps leading on to the beach had been pounded by giant rocks thrown up from the waves.
Meanwhile, locals told of their ordeal on Friday night listening to the high winds, sea spray and crashing waves.
Gary Conning said: “That’s the worst I’ve known it last night. It was horrendous.”
Former fisherman Rob McIlroy said he had been out to sea in some very rough conditions. He said the waves and winds were ‘horrendous’ at 6am on Saturday and the waves were ‘massive.’ He added that he was worried about structural damage caused by the high winds and said listening to the siren going off was quite a frightening experience.
He said: “It’s the not knowing what’s happening.”
Storm Wallace was out all night with volunteers, helping to sandbag houses and providing shelter at the respite centre at Underhill Methodist Church for those who wanted it.
She said volunteers had even been making fry-ups for people.
She added: “The community spirit is incredible.”
Portland resident Gary Fooks said he and his family had ‘battened down the hatches’ on Friday night.
He said: “The chimney and the tiles were vibrating – but we were all good.”
One of the landladies at the Cove House Inn, Amanda Broughton-South said the weather had been ‘quite horrendous’ for a couple of hours.
Some water had come in around the boards, put up after last week’s storms to protect damaged windows.
However, she said she didn’t think they had any more damage outside and had experience no damage inside the pub.
She said: “I heard something crack so it might have been another window. We haven’t had any damage inside – thank God.”
Bus drivers from First who were stuck on Portland said Chiswell residents had been kind and brought them put cups of tea and bacon sandwiches.
Meanwhile yesterday, residents took advantage of a rare spell of sunshine.
Other residents, meanwhile, took the opportunity to clear away the remaining debris washed ashore.
Sebastian Gowar-Cliffe, 60, who lives near The Cove House Inn, removed some of the larger rocks that washed up outside his house.
He suggested that it only took one wave to bring back a number of stones onto the main road.
Mr Gowar-Cliffe said: “That was enough to shift a lot of big hundredweight – half-hundredweight – stones from the sea wall back onto the main road.
“That’s all been cleared up now. The council were here as soon as they could clearing the main road.”