ANXIOUS eyes were watching the Lyme Regis cliff faces and harbour as ‘the worst storm in 50 years’ hit the town.
Following the deluge of rain and howling winds that have pummelled the coast for months, winds of up to 70mph hit the Cobb yesterday and another storm is on its way and scheduled to hit the town tomorrow.
As the wild weather continues, the Lyme Regis News has now joined local Rotary Clubs in a fundraising appeal for victims of the storms in Dorset and neighbouring counties. As storm-force winds swept the coastline, Colin Jones, deputy launching authority for the Lyme Regis RNLI, said it was the worst weather he could remember for 50 years.
Mr Jones said: “Everyone knew this storm was coming, but there is only so much you can do. We put more ropes on the boats to secure them, it looks like a big spider’s web now.
“Nobody has known the weather to be like this. The sheer consistency of the wind and the rain is immense.
“At the present time, this is one of the worst I have seen since I was 14, and I’m 64 now.”
There was a substantial movement of land on Monmouth Beach 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” in Lyme Regis as the bad weather continues.
He said: “There has been one significant rock fall which happened on Saturday. I don't think it is as big as the major one and I wouldn't like to put an estimated figure on it, but it is roughly half of what fell last year.
“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. I don't think it's going to threaten the chalets or beach huts, and will be more towards Monmouth Beach.
“People have got to be very careful on Monmouth Beach and stay away from the cliffs all the time.”
Mike Higgs, Deputy Harbourmaster for Lyme Regis, was on the Cobb yesterday to try and police the area after preparing the harbour throughout Tuesday.
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. The consistency of them, we have had between 15 and 20 since Christmas, has been is just relentless.
“There has damage to the surface of the Cobb but we won't know how much damage has been done until the storm passes.”
Alex Jones, a fisherman, was taking refuge in the Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat station to keep an eye on his fishing boat.
Mr Jones said: “The wind is the most vicious part, I have never seen it so vicious.
“I am worried about my boat and whether it will survive. I have only been out three times since Christmas which is not very good when you rely on it to earn your keep.”
Ross Lambe, a postman, was out making his deliveries during the bad weather. He said: “I have been out since 9am and it has been really awful.
“It has been the worst weather I have worked in, but you just have to get through it.
“What I have to do is judge each road and see if it is safe to make the deliveries because post has to be delivered.”
Matt and Magdalie Evans visited Lyme Regis to watch the storms. Mr Evans said: “We came down to see what it's like really, and it is nice to see.
“It is great to see to look at and to see the feat and the power of the natural world.”
To donate to our joint appeal with the Rotary, cheques should be made out to Rotary International, District 1200 Charity Account and sent to Flood Appeal, Lyme Regis News, 67 East Street, Bridport, DT6 3LB