Lundy hit by ‘once in a generation’ storm which nearly closed island
PUBLISHED: 12:11 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:12 14 March 2018
Lundy Island is recovering from one of the worst storms in recent memory.
Storm Emma battered Lundy with easterly winds and freezing rain, which combined with high spring tides caused so much damage it left the island in danger of closing.
Island manager Derek Green said it was a ‘once in a generation’ storm and he had never seen anything like it.
“The island’s access road suffered a landslip losing 100-ft of side-land undermining the road,” Derek told the Gazette.
“Most of the road surface was washed away and has had to be rebuilt this past week.
“Everything on Lundy was built to give protection from the west; it’s unusual for us to get such big easterly winds.
“Our biggest concern was the access road; if we couldn’t use this to bring up supplies it would have closed us down.
“We’re very thankful the work we did in 2009 to strengthen the road helped and we’ve been given the green light from the civil engineer to use the road.
“We will be open for business for visitors on MS Oldenburg on March 27 as planned.”
Derek said visitors had to be confined to their quarters, and some were even evacuated for safety from the east cliff faces.
“They really were Arctic conditions,” he added.
“When the storm hit we were lucky to actually have a team of 14 volunteers from the Lundy Field Society here.
“They did a sterling job helping chop up wood to keep visitors warm; we ran out of coal and had to send the helicopter to get some.
“We were burning everything to keep warm.”
Other damage included six tonnes of scaffolding being washed out to sea, burst pipes, and damage to the jetty.
The beach building was hit by a large boulder which punched a two-metre hole through the side of the building.
Lundy’s iconic flagpole was snapped in half and Hanmers, an iconic clifftop fisherman’s chalet, suffered structural damage and has had to be rebuilt.
There were burst pipes in several properties, and many of the staff homes were without water for three days.
But there was one salvation - St Helen’s Church, presently undergoing restoration, survived the storm, having had its fragile roof replaced in time over the past six months.