The Great Storm of 1703 was the most severe storm or natural disaster ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain. It affected southern England and the English Channel in the Kingdom of Great Britain. A 120-mph (193-km/h) “perfect hurricane”, it started on 24 November, and did not die down until 2 December 1703
At sea, many ships (many returning from helping the King of Spain fight the French in the War of the Spanish Succession) were wrecked, including HMS Resolution at Pevensey and on the Goodwin Sands, HMS Stirling Castle, HMS Northumberland and HMS Restoration, with about 1,500 seamen killed particularly on the Goodwins. Between 8,000 – 15,000 lives were lost overall. The first Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed on 27 November 1703 (Old Style), killing six occupants, including its builder Henry Winstanley. The number of oak trees lost in the New Forest alone was 4,000.
On the Thames, around 700 ships were heaped together in the Pool of London, the section downstream from London Bridge. HMS Vanguard was wrecked at Chatham. HMS Association was blown from Harwich to Gothenburg in Sweden before way could be made back to England.
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“DREADFUL FLOOD IN AMERICA.
The Ohio river commenced rising at New York, on Thursday, about a month since. On Friday, soon after 12 o’clock, it began to overflow its banks. On Saturday night it came to a stand, and soon after it began to fall. It rose higher than the oldest person now living can remember….The river is undoubtedly 64 feet above low-water mark.”
“THE FLOODS IN FRANCE.
The southern provincial journals received in Paris on Sunday, are filled with details of frightful ravages and extensive loss of life and property by the inundations…The Saone had risen even higher than the great inundations of 1812 and 1711.