List of natural disasters in Britain and Ireland

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This is a list of natural disasters in the British Isles.

Most deadly natural disasters, listed by type[edit]

Disaster Location Date Size Casualties Article
Disease England and Scotland 1348 Outbreak of Yersinia pestis across the world, killed around 30% of Europe's population Over 1,500,000 deaths in England and Scotland Black Death
Storm Southern England 24 November to 2 December 1703 Hurricane strength storm at 120 mph (193 km/h) Up to 15,000 deaths, ships lost, mass damage to buildings and trees Great Storm of 1703
Tsunami Bristol Channel 30 January 1607 Disputed tsunami of unknown size or European windstorm 2,000 deaths, many settlements swept away, local economy ruined Bristol Channel floods, 1607
Earthquake Essex, South East 22 April 1884 4.7 not the UK's strongest, but most destructive Thousands of homes, around 5 deaths 1884 Colchester earthquake
Tornado London, England 17 October 1091 F4 2 deaths, the early London Bridge, 600 houses, many churches (inc. St Mary-le-Bow) London Tornado of 1091
Avalanche Lewes, England 27 December 1836 Dozens harmed, 8 killed when the UK's worst ever avalanche covered a street on the town's outskirts Lewes avalanche

List of natural disasters to have affected the British Isles, ordered chronologically[edit]

Colour scheme used in this table:
Geological event
Cold weather event
Hot weather event
High winds event
Wet weather event
Famine
Sickness epidemic


Year Disaster event Notes; disaster type, people killed, region affected, etc.
70-75k ybp Prolonged volcanic winter long lasting volcanic winters following the Toba catastrophe have been hypothesized[by whom?] to have killed every human not living in Africa at the time.
6100 BC Tsunami caused by the Storegga Slide struck east Scotland with 70-foot (21 m) wave after landslip in Norway.
535-536 Extreme weather events of 535–536 the most severe cooling in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 2,000 years, likely caused crop failures and freezing for the Anglo-Saxons.
1091 London Tornado of 1091
1235 Famine England; 20,000 die in London alone[1]
1315-17 Great Famine of 1315–1317
1348-50s Black Death in England killed somewhere around 50% of the population
1360s Black Death in England killed a further 20% of the population
1485–1551 Sweating sickness Sporadic outbreaks kill many thousands
1580 Dover Straits earthquake of 1580
1607 Bristol Channel floods, 1607 20 January 1607 (possible tsunami)
1607 Flooding Lynmouth flooding, Devon[citation needed]
1623-24 Famine England
1638 The Great Thunderstorm Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon
1651-53 Famine famine throughout much of Ireland during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland[2]
1665 Great Plague of London Bubonic plague killed an estimated 100,000 people, 20% of London's population
1665 Derby plague of 1665 The bubonic plague spread north, but was stalled by the famous quarantine of Eyam
1690s Famine occurs throughout Scotland, killing 15% of the population
1703 Great Storm of 1703
16th-18th centuries Little Ice Age Long-lasting period of lower-than-normal average temperatures
1709 Great Frost of 1709 Extremely cold winter, temperatures as low as -12°C on 5 January
1729 Tornado Bexhill-on-Sea struck by a waterspout that came ashore
1740 Irish Famine (1740–1741) somewhere between 310,000 to 480,000 people starve in Ireland due to cold weather affecting harvests
1755 Tsunami Following Lisbon earthquake, Cornwall was struck by a ten-foot wave
1783 "Laki haze" Sulphurous gas from eruption in Iceland suffocates an estimated 30,000 in Britain, followed by about 8,000 deaths in winter
1796 Flooding Lynmouth, Devon[citation needed]
1816 Year Without a Summer Crops devastated, unknown thousands die
1816-19 Typhus epidemic Ireland
1831-50 Cholera pandemic beginning in London, 55,000 die in outbreaks across England and Wales
1836 Lewes avalanche Lewes, the only major avalanche recorded in England[3][4][5][6]
1840s Great Irish Famine Potato blight devastates food sources, resulting in starvation and disease that kills somewhere around a million people.
1840s Highland Potato Famine Another starvation event, similar to the above, that occurred in Scotland
1848 Moray Firth fishing disaster 100 fishermen and 124 boats lost at sea during a storm in Scotland
1852 Holmfirth Flood reservoir embankment collapses, causing 81 deaths and a large amount of damage to property.
1864 Great Sheffield Flood Dale Dyke Dam bursts, destroying 800 houses and killing 270 people. (not strictly a natural disaster because it was structural failure caused by human error)
1881 Eyemouth disaster 189 fishermen died during a storm in Scotland
1881 Blizzard of January 1881 Around 100 die in one of the most severe blizzards ever to hit the southern parts of the United Kingdom
1884 1884 Colchester earthquake Several people killed, and 1200 buildings destroyed in Essex
1918-19 1918 flu pandemic
1928 1928 Thames flood A disastrous flood of the River Thames in London. 14 drowned and thousands made homeless.
1931 1931 Dogger Bank earthquake At 6.1 on the Richter Scale, was the largest earthquake in British history, but caused only minor damage as was offshore.
1946-47 Winter of 1946–1947 Right after WWII, blizzards block roads and cause blackouts, resulting in industrial stagnation. Followed by heavy flooding in March, causing £250–375 million of damage.
1952 Lynmouth flood of 1952 34 people were killed, with a further 420 made homeless. Over 100 buildings were destroyed.[7][8][9][10]
1953 North Sea flood of 1953 307 were killed in the United Kingdom, in the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
1962-63 Winter of 1962–1963 Coldest winter for hundreds of years, temperatures as low as −16C (3.2F).
1968 Great Flood of 1968 Flooding causes extensive damage to Southern England.[11]
1968 1968 Scotland storm Hurricane causes 20 deaths in West of Scotland.[12]
1987 Great Storm of 1987 After Michael Fish famously forecast "very windy" weather mainly over France, an unusually strong storm killed 18 people in England.
1990 Burns' Day storm Winds of up to 100 mph kill 97 people and cause £3.37 billion worth of damage, the most costly weather event in British history.
1998 Easter Floods severe flood event in the English Midlands and East Anglia resulting in 5 deaths [13]
2000 Flooding Severe flooding in many parts of the UK. Among the worst hits are York, Shrewsbury, Lewes, Uckfield and Maidstone.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]
2002 2002 Glasgow floods 200 people immediately evacuated, but the water supply of 140 thousand people was affected.
2003 2003 European heat wave More than 2,000 people died in the UK alone as a result of the hottest summer recorded in Europe since 1540. The highest temperature ever recorded in UK history was at Faversham, Kent on 10 August where it reached 38.5 °C (101.3 °F).
2004 Boscastle flood of 2004 Two villages of Cornwall were heavily damaged due to flash floods.
2005 Flooding Carlisle, 8 January 2005[22][23] See Cyclone Gudrun[24]
2005 Birmingham Tornado 30 injuries caused by the tornado, which uprooted trees, destroyed roofs and picked up cars, causing £40 million in damages.
2006 London Tornado Only one injury, but £10 million of damage caused.
2007 Storm Kyrill Hurricane-force winds across British Isles, at least 11 people dead
2007 2007 United Kingdom floods Killed 13 people. Gloucestershire suffers many road and rail closures, power cuts and evacuations, with 420,000 inhabitants left without drinking water requiring emergency assistance from the army. Other areas heavily affected include Yorkshire, Hull and Worcestershire. The disaster is estimated to have caused £6 billion of damage.
2008 2008 Morpeth floods River Wansbeck bursts its banks causing damage to 995 properties costing £40 million. Flooding across English Midlands and North East associated with a slow moving front of the low pressure system Mattea.[25]
2009 2009 Great Britain and Ireland floods Strong winds and heavy rain across the United Kingdom with the worst flooding concentrated in Cumbria. Four people were killed as a direct result of the flooding.[26]
2012 2012 Great Britain and Ireland floods A series of low pressure systems steered by the Jet stream bring the wettest April in 100 years, and flooding across Britain and Ireland. Continuing through May and leading to the wettest beginning to June in 150 years, with flooding and extreme events occurring periodically throughout Britain and parts of Western Europe. On 9 June, severe flooding began around Aberystwyth, West Wales with people evacuated from 2 holiday parks. 150 people saved from lifeboats with 4-5ft of water. On 28 June, a large area of low pressure moved across Northern Ireland. Its fronts brought heavy rain and large hail to many areas in England. One man died from the storm.
2013 St. Jude storm Torrential rain and winds of up to 100mph hit the south of England and Wales. 600,000 homes were left without power, and 5 were killed. In Europe another 6 were killed by the same storm.
2013 2013 East Coast Tidal Surge On 5 December 2013 a large depression that passed eastwards over Scotland brought strong northerly winds along the eastern coast of Britain. This coincided with the spring tide and caused a large tidal surge to affect large swathes of the East Coast. Many settlements along the coast were severely flooded, with sea defences breached in many locations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bartholomew, James (2004-08-08). "Poor studies will always be with us". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  2. ^ BBC - Northern Ireland - A Short History
  3. ^ "Avalanche anniversary in Lewes pub". The Argus. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  4. ^ "Radicals and Rebels - Stage 3". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  5. ^ "Inside Out - South: Monday 7th October, 2002". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  6. ^ [dead link]
  7. ^ "On This Day: 1952: Flood devastates Devon village". BBC. 1952-08-16. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  8. ^ "Rain-making link to killer floods". BBC. 2001-08-30. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  9. ^ "The 1952 Flood Disaster in Context". Exmoor National Park. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  10. ^ Joint, Laura. "Lynmouth flood disaster". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  11. ^ "Hundreds homeless after flood havoc". The Times. 1968-09-16. p. 1. 
  12. ^ "Hansard: SCOTLAND (STORM DAMAGE)". 
  13. ^ "Easter 1998 floods". Met Office. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  14. ^ "BBC Weather: Flood Facts". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  15. ^ [dead link]
  16. ^ "Lessons Learned: Autumn 2000 floods" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  17. ^ "Southern Counties > Nature > Walks > Lewes - Radicals and Rebels > Stage 3". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-18. [not in citation given]
  18. ^ Kelman, Ilan (2002). "The Autumn 2000 Floods in England" (PDF). The Martin Centre, University of Cambridge. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  19. ^ "U.K. Floods, October 13–14, 2000: Examination of U.K. Flood Damage During Increased Rainfall in October 2000" (PDF). Risk Management Solutions. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  20. ^ "THE LEWES FLOOD OF OCTOBER 2000" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  21. ^ "Flood Report: March 2001" (PDF). Environment Agency. Archived from the original on 19 May 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  22. ^ "Archive: Cumbrian Floods". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  23. ^ "Cumbria floods". Archived from the original on 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  24. ^ "Windstorm Erwin / Gudrun – January 2005". Guy Carpenter. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "England struck by flash flooding". BBC. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  26. ^ Laing, Aislinn; Stokes, Paul; Bunyan, Nigel (2009-11-20). "Cumbria floods". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 

See also[edit]