Great Flood of 1968

Last updated

Great flood of 1968
Pool River during the Great Flood of 1968.jpg
Pool River in Catford during the flood
DateSeptember 1968
Location Home counties
DeathsNone [1]
Property damageMore than 14,000 properties flooded. [2]

The Great Flood of 1968 was a flood caused by a pronounced trough of low pressure which brought exceptionally heavy rain and thunderstorms to South East England and France in mid-September 1968, with the worst on Sunday 15 September 1968, and followed earlier floods in South West England during July. [3] This was likely the severest inland flood experienced in the Home Counties during the last 100 years. [1] [4]


The areas worst hit were Crawley, East Grinstead, Horley, Lewisham, Petersfield, Redhill, Tilbury, Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge. [5]

On 15 September 1968, the 9:50 Charing Cross to Hastings was diverted along the Edenbridge line, but was surrounded by flood water at Edenbridge railway station. 150 passengers spent 12 hours stuck on the train.

Robertson's Jam factory Robertson's Jam factory during the Great Flood of 1968.jpg
Robertson's Jam factory


In the first seven hours of 15 September 1968 three inches of rain fell on Nice. In Toulon a cyclist was killed by an electricity cable that had fallen into the flooded road. The wine harvest was seriously damaged. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

Climate of the United Kingdom Overview of the climate of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom straddles the higher mid-latitudes between 49° and 61° N on the western seaboard of Europe. Since the UK is always in or close to the path of the polar front jet stream, frequent changes in pressure and unsettled weather are typical. Many types of weather can be experienced in a single day. In general the climate of the UK is cool and often cloudy and rainy, and high temperatures are infrequent.

Floods in the United States are generally caused by excessive rainfall, excessive snowmelt, and dam failure. Below is a list of flood events that were of significant impact to the country, 1901 through 2000, inclusive.

Climate of the British Isles

The British Isles are an archipelago off the northwest coast of Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland along with smaller surrounding ones. Its position allows dry continental air from Eurasia to meet wetter air from the Atlantic Ocean, which causes the weather to be highly variable, often changing many times during the day. It is defined as a temperate oceanic climate, or Cfb on the Köppen climate classification system. It is significantly warmer than other regions on the same latitude, previously thought to be due to the warmth provided by the Gulf Stream; however, this has been disproven, and most of the mild temperatures have been linked to the Rocky Mountains and the heat storing capabilities of the North Atlantic Ocean. Temperatures do not often switch between great extremes, with warm summers and mild winters.

Global storm activity of 2010

The global storm activity of 2010 includes major meteorological events in the Earth's atmosphere during the year, including winter storms, hailstorms, out of season monsoon rain storms, extratropical cyclones, gales, microbursts, flooding, rainstorms, tropical cyclones, and other severe weather events.

1968 Scotland storm

The 1968 Hurricane was a deadly storm that moved through the Central Belt of Scotland during mid January 1968. It was described as Central Scotland's worst natural disaster since records began and the worst gale in the United Kingdom. Some said that the damage resembled what happened during the Clydebank Blitz in 1941. 20 people died from the storm, with 9 dead in Glasgow. 700 people were left homeless. Such high wind speeds in an urban area were equivalent to those witnessed in Paris during Cyclone Lothar in 1999.

Autumn 2000 Western Europe floods

The Autumn of 2000 was the wettest recorded in the United Kingdom since records began in 1766.

2012 Great Britain and Ireland floods

The 2012 Great Britain and Ireland floods were a series of weather events that affected parts of Great Britain and Ireland periodically during the course of 2012 and on through the winter into 2013. The beginning of 2012 saw much of the United Kingdom experiencing droughts and a heat wave in March. A series of low pressure systems steered by the jet stream brought 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 Atlantic Europe.

Spanish plume

The Spanish Plume is a weather pattern in which a plume of warm air moves from the Iberian plateau or the Sahara to northwest Europe giving rise to severe thunderstorms. This meteorological pattern can lead to extreme high temperatures and intense rainfall during the summer months, with potential for flash flooding, damaging hail storms, and tornado formation. Some of these intense thunderstorms are formed from thermal lows. Thermal lows are also known as heat lows. Thermal lows can be semipermanent features around some parts of Europe, particularly in the summer season. These thermal lows can be developed or created around Spain, Portugal, France etc., during the summer season because of the intense heat. Thermal low pressure can be located around the world, particularly in the summer or in tropical regions.

Storm Desmond

Storm Desmond was an extratropical cyclone and fourth named storm of the 2015–16 UK and Ireland windstorm season, notable for directing a plume of moist air, known as an atmospheric river, which brought record amounts of orographic rainfall to upland areas of northern Atlantic Europe and subsequent major floods.

2015–16 Great Britain and Ireland floods

The 2015–16 Great Britain and Ireland floods were a series of heavy rainfall events which led to flooding during the winter of late 2015 and early 2016.

Louth flood of 1920

The Louth flood of 1920 or Louth "cloud-burst" was a severe flash flooding in the Lincolnshire market town of Louth which occurred 29 May 1920, resulting in 23 fatalities in 20 minutes. It has been described as one of the most significant flood disasters in Britain and Ireland during the 20th century.

Chew Stoke flood of 1968

Chew Stoke Flood was a heavy rain event and severe flash flood which occurred on 10 July 1968, affecting Somerset and Southwest England in particular the Chew Valley and some areas of Bristol, notably Bedminster. The River Chew suffered a major flood in 1968 with serious damage to towns and villages along its route, including sweeping away the bridge at Pensford.

The 2018–19 European windstorm season was the fourth instance of seasonal European windstorm naming in Europe. Most storms form between September and March. The first named storm, Ali, affected primarily the United Kingdom and Ireland on 19 September 2018.

July 1968 United Kingdom thunderstorms

The July 1968 United Kingdom thunderstorms were the most severe dust fall thunderstorms in the British Isles for over 200 years. A layer of mineral dust blowing north from the Sahara met cold, wet air over the British Isles, resulting in thick, dense clouds and severe thunderstorms across most of England and Wales. These clouds completely blotted out the light in some areas and the rain and hail resulted in property damage and flooding, and at least four people were killed. During the storm, Leeming Bar in North Yorkshire saw 35.7 millimetres (1.41 in) of rain in under 10 minutes – a UK record until 2003.

Severe storm events in Sydney Severe storms in Sydney, Australia from the 18th century to present day

Severe storm events in Sydney are not uncommon and would include hail storms, wind storms, and flash flooding from rain caused either by East coast lows or ex-tropical cyclone remnants. East coast lows are low pressure depressions that can bring significant damage by heavy rain, cyclonic winds and huge swells. Sydney is rarely affected by cyclones, although remnants of ex-cyclones do affect the city.

Storm Dennis Extratropical cyclone in February 2020 that became one of the most intense ever recorded

Storm Dennis was a European windstorm which, in February 2020, became one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded, reaching a minimum central pressure of 920 millibars. The thirteenth named storm of the 2019–20 European windstorm season, Dennis affected the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom less than a week after Storm Ciara, exacerbating the impacts from that storm amidst ongoing flooding in the latter country.

Storm Alex Extratropical cyclone which caused severe damage to Europe in October 2020, with 15 fatalities

Storm Alex was a powerful early-season extratropical cyclone that was the particularly notable for its extreme flooding around the Mediterranean. Alex caused widespread wind and flooding damage across Europe, and at least 16 fatalities, with a one more 1 person missing. Alex was the first named storm in the 2020–21 European windstorm season.


  1. 1 2 Eden, Philip. "September 1968 Floods - London cut off". Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  2. "Forty years on from the floods of 1968". 12 September 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  3. "Wednesday 10 July 1968" (PDF). Met Office. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  4. Jackson, M. C. (January 1977). "MESOSCALE AND SMALL-SCALE MOTIONS AS REVEALED BY HOURLY RAINFALL MAPS OF AN OUTSTANDING RAINFALL EVENT: 14-16 SEPTEMBER 1968". Weather. 32 (1): 2–17. Bibcode:1977Wthr...32....2J. doi:10.1002/j.1477-8696.1977.tb04471.x.
  5. Staff reporter (17 September 1968). "Good neighbours ease the burden in flood areas". The Times .
  6. "Storm havoc in south France". The Times . 16 September 1968. p. 1.