Lynmouth Floods Kill 34
Over the night of August 15 and 16 1952 the North Devon village of Lynmouth was devastated by floodwaters, and by debris swept before them. In all 34 people died in the flooding, and hundreds had their homes destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.
Nine inches of rain fell on Exmoor on August 14, and the torrential rain continued the next day. The River Lyn flowing through the village had been partially culverted, reducing the escape rate of water through it. Higher up the valley a dam formed spontaneously from trees and rocks carried into the river; when that dam burst in mid-evening on August 15 it released a wall of water and detritus. A hotel in the village had to evacuate guests and staff two floors up; a chapel was washed away, and cottages collapsed. Amid the chaos local people showed enormous bravery to save their neighbours, preventing the death toll rising still higher.
It has been suggested but not substantiated that MOD experiments in cloud-seeding caused the storms. Given Lynmouth had undergone like events in the 17th and 18th centuries, and that in 2004 Boscastle in neighbouring Cornwall , a place with similar geography, suffered flooding of the same type – though happily without the loss of life – a more natural explanation seems likely.
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From George on 13th April 2013
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